Thursday, October 15, 2009

Pakistan's Intelligence Failures Amidst Daily Carnage

The best way to stop the increasing carnage on the streets of Pakistan, at least in the short term, is to stop the terrorist attacks well before they occur. Unfortunately, however, the intelligence agencies which are supposed to frustrate the blood-thirsty attackers appear totally ineffective, even paralyzed. The agencies, including the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and the Intelligence Bureau (IB), are caught in a continuing power struggle between the civilian political elite and the military brass for control, even as terror strikes on a daily basis, claiming dozens of innocent lives.

While the battle for the control of ISI is making headlines with the well-publicized conditions attached to the recent US aid bill at the urging of Pakistan's Ambassador Haqqani, what is less well known is the disgraceful attempt by President Zardari to pack the IB and the Interior ministry with his cronies.

Let's look at the story of Shoaib Suddle, who is known to be very close to Zardari. Suddle was the Karachi Police Chief in September, 1996, when Murtaza Ali Bhutto, the younger brother of Benazir, who was challenging the role of Zardari in the PPP, was allegedly killed by the police in an apparently planned ambush. Suddle is one of the accused in the murder case filed in this connection. Suddle was appointed by Zardari in June, 2008, to head the IB, in spite of strong opposition from Prime Minister Gilani and against the advice of the military. He was given an extension of two years after he reached retirement age. In April this year, a Pakistan Supreme Court judge set aside the extension given to him and other police officers facing trial in connection with the murder of Murtaza Bhutto. In spite of this rebuff by the apex court, he was taken to the US and Europe by Zardari along with the Director General of the ISI. Shortly after his return from the trip with Zardari, Prime Minister Gilani had Suddle replaced by Javed Noor as the DGIB in deference to the Supreme Court judgment.

Pakistan's top law enforcement officer and Zardari's man responsible for internal security is Interior Minister Rehman Malik. Malik was the person responsible for the personal security of Benazir Bhutto when she returned to Pakistan under a deal with former President Musharraf brokered by the US in 2007. After the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, there were accusations of lax security against Rehman Malik, and serious questions were raised about his absence from the scene of the deadly attack in Rawalpindi. In his current role as Interior Minister, Malik's effectiveness is hampered by the fact that he has had a rocky relationship with the ISI since the 1990s, when he was the deputy chief of the FIA.

Even as the Pakistani Army prepares a counterinsurgency campaign in FATA, it is extremely important to have serious intelligence professionals working together to gain the necessary knowledge to disrupt and disable the terrorist networks, which appear to be spreading to the heartland of Pakistan's Punjab province.

As the nation bleeds like never before, it is the prime need of the hour for both the military and political leaders in Pakistan to start seriously cooperating on matters of coordinated intelligence gathering and concerted counter-terror strategy, organization, plans and actions.

There is also a sense of urgency to initiate longer term actions to address the underlying causes of terror by offering alternatives to the young people who are recruited as suicide bombers, wreaking havoc on innocent lives on almost daily basis.

Related Links:

Feudal Punjab Fertile For Terror

Spy versus Spy

Islamabad Marriott Bombing

Questions About Rehman Malik

Can Pakistani Military Defeat the Terrorists?

Murtaza Bhutto's Murder

National Commission For Counter-terrorism


Zen, Munich, Germany said...

Riaz, you present terrorism in Pakistan as if it is an intelligence or technical problem. But in fact, it is a cultural problem in your country. Just a few days ago, they showed in TV a joint research by ZDF and NY Times how Jihadi materials are sold in public bookshops in Lahore as if they were shortstories(see link, video is in German). What should one expect from such a society? In a way, Pakistan is tasting its own poison. Now all they can say is that "Pakistan is also a victim of terrorism" which sounds ridiculous as victim and perpetrator are the same here.

Anonymous said...

It is amazing that even educated Pakistanis like you live in denial mode. Pak army can not defeat taliban because they are one and same. For the last couple of years we are trying to eliminate taliban and are totally unsuccessful. If Pak govt wants peace, let them invite Indian army to finish off talibanis. Let it be a joint operation. There is no shame in asking the help of Indian army to eliminate these rats. India also benefits from this. But no, Pak will not do that because these terrorists are strategic assets against India. What hypocrisy?

I have no faith in Pak army when it comes to eliminating talibanis.

Anonymous said...


The Kashmir conflict 1989-2009 is a representation of ‘fundamentalist’ religious empowerment. This conflict is not a stand-alone phenomenon. The origins of this South Asian conflict could be traced back to the fundamentalist Hindutva mindset that preceded the two-nation theory of Pakistan and subsequent Islamisation by decades, especially the way Hindu institutions were protected and flourished during the colonial period. This study develops a framework of understanding how India and Pakistan are constantly perched on the precipice of war since 1947, caught in “a paired-minority conflict”, engaging occasionally in the battleground but increasingly in games of stealth and intelligence. Indian strategic culture does not accept the legitimacy of Pakistan while the latter is entangled in the mindset of strategic inferiority and displaying a lack of professionalism. The nuclear tests of 1998 transformed India into a winner and an emerging power, whereas Pakistan is on the verge of a collapse and struggling for foreign aid. This study develops an argument on how this fundamentalist conflict gradually progressed to an insurgency in Kashmir with implications beyond South Asia.

To read this dissertation, please click: 19239255/Fundamentalism

Riaz Haq said...

Anon: "The Kashmir conflict 1989-2009 is a representation of ‘fundamentalist’ religious empowerment. This conflict is not a stand-alone phenomenon."

This is the most ridiculous argument I have ever heard. Kashmir conflict did not start in 1989, it has a much longer history, beginning with 1948 when Nehru made a commitment to Kashmiris and the world that India would not stand in the way of Kashmiris right to choose.

It's rather long 46 minutes presentation requiring patience, but I found the video to be the most honest account of the Kashmir problem which is surrounded by all kinds of misinformation, disinformation and spin from all sides. Hoodbhoy puts it in historical context, shows the cynical role of the politicians and extremists on both sides, and talks about the realities of the Kashmir tragedy as it affects both Kashmiri Muslims and Hindu pandits who have been dispossessed and dispersed, and led to radicalization of the populations on both sides.

The footage of late Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru's pledge of the plebiscite to the people of Kashmir to decide their own fate can be seen and heard about 23 minutes into the 46 minute video.

I recommend this video to any one interested in understanding the Kashmir issue in depth and how it has drastically polarized the people South Asia.

Anonymous said...

What has Kashmir issue got to do with present mess in Pakistan created by taliban?

Riaz Haq said...

dcruncher: "Pak army can not defeat taliban because they are one and same."

Who do you think fought and defeated the Talibs in Swat recently?

I think you are in denial of the fact that Pakistan Army has made tremendous sacrifices and lost more soldiers in the fight against terror than the US and NATO put together.

As to the past relationship between Pakistan and Taliban, the US, too, had that relationship in terms of training, arming and funding the "Mujahedeen" , as the Americans called them in 1980s, who morphed into al Qaeda ad the Taliban. Does the past US support for Mujahedeen mean the US and the Taleban are one an he same?

dcruncher: "There is no shame in asking the help of Indian army to eliminate these rats. India also benefits from this."

I think you are living fools' paradise. India has no interest in helping Pakistan. It is, in fact, engaged in a covert war in Pakistan to destabilize it further.
It also continues to maintain the bulk of Indian troops concentrated on Pak borders, constantly threatening Pakistan and distracting its attention away from the war against the Talibs.

The Indian attitude is summed well by respected American South Asia expert Stephen Cohen of Washington's Brookings Institution, who recently told his audience: "Not a few Indian generals and strategists have told me that if only America would strip Pakistan of its nuclear weapons then the Indian army could destroy the Pakistan army and the whole thing would be over."

Please read the following:

Riaz Haq said...

Zen: "But in fact, it is a cultural problem in your country. Just a few days ago, they showed in TV a joint research by ZDF and NY Times how Jihadi materials are sold in public bookshops in Lahore as.."

It's amazing how you think you are an expert on Pakistan and its problems based on watching a clip produced by western media who parachute in to cover a story without having any idea of the society and the context.

You know, Nazi literature is also sold openly in the US. And if one were to produce a clip that just focused on a that, it could easily, but incorrectly, conclude that American society has a deep social problem against Jews and other minorities.

What you need to look at is that two recent polls, one by al Jazeera and another by IRI, that show overwhelming support for Pak Army's action against the Taliban.

Anonymous said...

As an Indian ..I feel Kashmir problem can be very much solved.. and Indian government just clinging on it becuase of the false ego of Nehru..A columist described the kashmir issues very well as
"Kashmir was in the grip of two armies galring at each other in a state of arm neutrality. It may sut a handful of people to see the indefinite continuance of this ghastly situation. But the indian taxpayer is paying through the nose for the precarious privilege of claiming kashmir as part of India on the basis of all the giving on India's side and all the taking on Kashmir's side" ...
It was just nehru's ego to hold on kashmir being kashmiri and we indians are paying proce for the same ...

Anonymous said...

"It's amazing how you think you are an expert on Pakistan and its problems based on watching a clip produced by western media who parachute in to cover a story without having any idea of the society and the context."

Does this guy also live in Germany?
He is telling it loud and clear in Pak tv that Pak society is filled with poison and that's why there is so much violence.

Mr Haq, there is a limit to live in denial mode.

You want opinion poll? I can show you opinion poll taken in Pakistan where 80% of pak people wanted sharia (like hand cutting for stealing, stoning for adultry).

Anonymous said...

"The Indian attitude is summed well by respected American South Asia expert Stephen Cohen of Washington's Brookings Institution, who recently told his audience: "Not a few Indian generals and strategists have told me that if only America would strip Pakistan of its nuclear weapons then the Indian army could destroy the Pakistan army and the whole thing would be over."

WOW. What a genius? Perhaps Indian Army was sleeping from 1971 (when they cut Pak into two pieces) to 1998 when both of them were not officially nuke country.

Riaz Haq said...

dcruncher: "Does this guy also live in Germany?
He is telling it loud and clear in Pak tv that Pak society is filled with poison and that's why there is so much violence."

Nazir Naji and a few others like him are Cassandras who bring bad news, while ignoring the good news completely. That's the basic definition of a Cassandra: They always see the cup not just half empty, but completely empty.

As I said earlier, there has been a dramatic shift in public opinion in Pakistan, as borne out by the most recent polls by Aljazeera and IRI.

Pakistanis are now overwhelmingly supporting a strong response the military to crush the radicals causing daily mayhem close to home. What I a arguing in my post is that it's extremely important to have good intelligence to improve the chances of success against the Talibs. And then there is a need in the long term to find alternative lifestyles/work for the young people who are drawn to radical causes.

Now, even after the military succeed, and I have no doubt the military is quite capable of it, you will still be able find radicals in Pak society, just as you find them in any other society.

Anonymous said...

Mr Haq, Why do your respect Dr. Hoodbhoy who tells the same. In fact Dr. sahib has been telling that the crop of 1980s, sowed by Zia Ullu Haq (no pun intended), has now grown completely and eating Pak from inside. I fully agree with him. Remember this is a society which actively encourages jihad by anyone. All a jihadi requires is to declare anyone an enemy of islam to justify his killing. YOU SPECIALLY are enemy # 1 for jihadis who lives in US and is a US citizen.

The very concept of Jihad is outdated by centuries and we are only paying the price of encouraging it.

Do you remember the Pakistan of 1970s before Zia Ullu Haq destroyed it with his crap islamic dumping on the society.

Yousuf said...

Riaz Dahib,
I agree with you but they are elected representatives of Pakistan, and can loose some seats in by-election or loose government in next election, unlike Army & ISI who didn’t deliver for last 60years, and no one can throw them out. I think Asma Jehangir put together very well in her reply to Hameed Gul about KLB in a recent Off the Record talk show.

Pakistan Army & ISI trained all these people during Afghan war, and these terrorist so called Jihadis in Afghan & Kashmir war. Now these Jihadis/Terrorists carried out further trainings to our future generations using same principles & religious mantra provided to them that suicide is fine to reach your goal of Islamic state.

Now Jihadis are labeled as Terrorist as they attack same institution who trained them, but in Jehadis/Terrorists mind mission is same as Afghan war, to establish Islamic State, and they see Pakistan Army & ISI as road block. ( asteen ka saap hey jo duss raha hey).

Still there are people inside these security agencies who are well wishers, and provide inside info of daily routine. Good example is attack on UN food headquarters in Pindi, where rangers used to go get water & use restroom, and someone provided the info, and the Jihadi/Terrorist used ranger uniform carried out the attack using same routine or GHQ attack or attack on Generals etc. If you look at the trend it is happening more in Punjab, then in Karachi. My guess is that they don’t have inside sympathizers in Karachi, who can help them like in Punjab. In fact some credit goes to MQM that lot of terrorist were caught in Karachi then any where else.

Indra Ghandi took the Sikh terrorists list from BeNazir & took care of sikh terrorism, and our ISI who created Jihandis couldn’t put the Jihadis back in the bottle, as they were using them for their interests.

It’s time for Army & ISI to rethink their strategy & look inwards for such elements to make bold decisions, if they want such elements to be entertained to use them in Afghanistan & Kashmir in future or cut them off for ever, to bring peace & prosperity for Pakistan.

Riaz Haq said...

Zardari is doing a lot of damage very quickly to Pakistan already. He is engaged in violence and extortion and packing the agencies with his cronies. He is much less trustworthy than the military. And Zardari is not just an individual, he represents an entirely corrupt feudal system that rules Pakistan in the name of democracy whenever elections are held. The alternative to PPP is PML under Sharif which is not much better.

Unlike the military governments that deliver signifucant econmic growth, under the feudals, the economy grinds to a halt, and there is no job creation necessary to employ over 2 million young people a year who join the labor pool each year. The decade of the 1990s is called a lost decade because the so-called democrats delivered near-zero growth and increased poverty and hunger temendously. So they become a ready market for the radicals recruiting terrrorists and suicde bombers. In fact, the feudal Punjab has become fertile ground for terrorists because of the domination of the feudal structutre that denies the young people any laternatives to either being serfs on their farms, or become jihadis. Just read the story of Kasab who was recruited to terrorize people in Mumbai.

Asma Jehangir, and others like her in "civil society" are just an unwitting tool for the perpetuation of the feudal system in the name of democracy in Pakistan.

On the Taliban front, there has been a dramatic shift in public opinion in Pakistan, as borne out by the most recent polls by Aljazeera and IRI.

Pakistanis are now overwhelmingly supporting a strong response the military to crush the radicals causing daily mayhem close to home. What I a arguing in my post is that it's extremely important to have good intelligence to improve the chances of success against the Talibs. And then there is a need in the long term to find alternative lifestyles/work for the young people who are drawn to radical causes.

Now, even after the military succeed, and I have no doubt the military is quite capable of it, you will still be able find radicals in Pak society, just as you find them in any other society.

Anonymous said...

Riaz"It's amazing how you think you are an expert on Pakistan and its problems based on watching a clip produced by western media who parachute in to cover a story without having any idea of the society and the context."

No body is trying to be an expert here. Everybody is entitled to his opinion. Or do you have problem with one sharing the opinion on your blog. BTW, reading handful of surveys, polls and news, you have been long posting the outrageous articles about India. Do you consider yourself expert of Indian matters?

Riaz” You know, Nazi literature is also sold openly in the US. And if one were to produce a clip that just focused on a that, it could easily, but incorrectly, conclude that American society has a deep social problem against Jews and other minorities.”

You need to stop comparing Apples with oranges. They also have Nazi reunions in USA. The difference is – after reading these materials, people are not blowing up places. In Pakistan they do. So the difference is in action. If the Nazi people start blowing up places in USA, they will be shut, along with the material, in matter of hours. In Pakistan, they do not stop these things. There is a world of difference but you won’t understand in your denial shell.

Anonymous said...

"Unlike the military governments that deliver signifucant econmic growth, under the feudals, the economy grinds to a halt, and there is no job creation necessary to employ over 2 million young people a year who join the labor pool each year. The decade of the 1990s is called a lost decade because the so-called democrats delivered near-zero growth and increased poverty and hunger temendously. So they become a ready market for the radicals recruiting terrrorists and suicde bombers. In fact, the feudal Punjab has become fertile ground for terrorists because of the domination of the feudal structutre that denies the young people any laternatives to either being serfs on their farms, or become jihadis. Just read the story of Kasab who was recruited to terrorize people in Mumbai."

You write this also and also claim by repeated assertion that Pakistan has done better than India in all social indicators. You can't be consistent

Anonymous said...

Pakistan wants USA to listen to them and leave Afghanistan.

Riaz Haq said...

Anon: "WOW. What a genius? Perhaps Indian Army was sleeping from 1971 (when they cut Pak into two pieces) to 1998 when both of them were not officially nuke country."

The key words in your comment are "officially nuke country". Both Pakistan and India had crossed the threshold well before the tests in 1998, which had the deterrent effect.

Riaz Haq said...

dcruncher: "Why do your respect Dr. Hoodbhoy who tells the same. In fact Dr. sahib has been telling that the crop of 1980s..."

Let's not confuse respect with agreement. While I do agree with PH on the dangers and his warnings on radicalization, I do not consider the situation hopeless, as he does.

dcruncher: "Do you remember the Pakistan of 1970s before Zia Ullu Haq destroyed it with his crap islamic dumping on the society."

I agree that Zia has done more damage to Pak than any other leader in Pak's history.

Riaz Haq said...

Anon: BTW, reading handful of surveys, polls and news, you have been long posting the outrageous articles about India. Do you consider yourself expert of Indian matters?

No, I am not consider myself an expert on India. But I can say with confidence that I know more about India than most Indians or Pakistanis. My knowledge is based on my personal visits and extensive research, not just "a handful of surveys, polls and news"
as you allege.

In fact, there is nothing outrageous about what I say regarding India. Everything I say is well supported by overwhelming data and evidence, particularly India's failure to take care of something as basic as food, as borne out by another hunger report yesterday, on "World Food Day", that gives India the lowest possible grade, essentially an F.

Riaz Haq said...

dcruncher: "You write this also and also claim by repeated assertion that Pakistan has done better than India in all social indicators. You can't be consistent"

It's absolutely consistent, when you consider well-publicized and credible data on India's performance vs Pakistan's on basics such as food, clothing and shelter.

Everything I say is well supported by overwhelming data and evidence, particularly India's failure to take care of something as basic as food, as borne out by another hunger report yesterday, on "World Food Day", that gives India the lowest possible grade, essentially an F.

Riaz Haq said...

Anon: "They also have Nazi reunions in USA. The difference is – after reading these materials, people are not blowing up places. In Pakistan they do."

Occasionally, the Nazis and their allied radical groups do commit acts of terror, such as the Oklahoma City bombing, Atlanta bombings, and shootings/killings at abortion clinics.

The numbers of radicals in US are relatively small because, unlike Pakistan, the US is a land of opportunity that is a beacon even to the foreigners, including large numbers of legal and immigrants from Mexico and India and other places.

Anonymous said...

Further you guys are too intelligent. You are one side asking USA to give you aid and on the other side, you are trying tell USA that they must leave and go Afghanistan. It looks like that USA invaded Afghanistan only with the concurrence of Pakistan.

Truth of the matter is that the country has already been brainwashed for islamic fundamentalism by sowing seeds of hatred against humans who are not islamic. That mentality has seeped into every pakistani in the administration.

That is the greatest strength of Taliban. Otherwise think of their audocity to attack the army head quarters. Further it exposes the dependence of pakistan on USA for the intelligence with regard to movement of people using satellite.

Since pakistan army is not listening to what US is telling, it has allowed pakistan army to fight its survival with taliban and USA to fight their determination using drones and satellites.

Good sense would be is to follow usa atleast till such time they can clean up the taliban in the backyard. Japan listen to USA for forty years to get their economic independence. Rome was not built in a day and built in a day it is not Rome. Hope this get into the senses of pakistan administration.

Anonymous said...

"It's absolutely consistent, when you consider well-publicized and credible data on India's performance vs Pakistan's on basics such as food, clothing and shelter."

No you didn't get it. Indian's worse poverty than Pakistan did not end up in Amar Singh coming to Karachi and blowing up all la Ajmal Kasab.

How come poverty in India did not create suicide bombers blowing away in not only in India, but also in Pakistan, like Pak terrorists. Doesn't that lead to conclusion on the the social indicator of poverty->terrorism India has done much better.

Riaz Haq said...

dcruncher: "No you didn't get it. Indian's worse poverty than Pakistan did not end up in Amar Singh coming to Karachi and blowing up all la Ajmal Kasab."

How different groups of people react to similar set of circumstances can be the subject of extensive research producing several voluminous dissertations for dozens of Ph.D. candidates.

My own starting point for such research would be to look at factors such as social attitudes, religious beliefs and motivations, internal catalysts and external triggers, opportunities, training etc.

In my humble opinion, India's caste-bound society and fatalistic social attitudes have created a relatively docile, poor and vast underclass that is essentially passive ad resigned to its fate, and it has infinite patience in the face of horrible injustice.

In Pakistan, we had similar situation with the poor farmers and serfs living on the land of their feudal lords or under tribal chiefs who accepted their situation. But the 1980s Soviet invasion and the following exhortation and training to fight against injustice changed all that. Pakistani society went through a transformation when the old order in the tribal areas broke down, the power and the privilege of the sardars and the maliks was destroyed, and the jihadis and mullahs took charge with the blessing and support of Pakistani, US and Saudi governments. That was the catalyst and the trigger that changed people from fairly docile subjects to violently fighting against power and authority.

And it didn't stop after the Soviets were defeated and pulled out of Afghanistan. In fact, it spread to the feudal Punjab and Kashmir. And it continues to grow into a massive rebellion against everything perceived as unjust...from Pakistan's feudal and tribal systems to the Pakistan military and police (seen as protecting the corrupt and unjust status quo) to Kashmir and Afghanistan. It's turned into a full-scale war on multiple fronts with the rural and tribal poor as its fodder, and there is no end in sight yet. The genie is out of the bottle.

Anonymous said...

No your research is horribly off the mark. The real reason why Indians are not violent i-will-blow-up-all is Hinduism. Same is true with Tibetians. Here was one nation which was annexed by Chinese. But Bhuddism does not encourage its followers to take up violence.

The very concept of Jihad is violent, end-justifies-the-means
theology. Is is any surprise that the same jihad has ended up eating islamic countries. Iraq, Afghanistan and now Pakistan.

The London Bombers of 2005 were all soccer, cricket playing second generations pakistanis. Yet they were angered by what British army was doing in Iraq and of course West policy towards Israel. So angered were they they blew up themselves. Only a fool will think that will actually achieve anything. All it achieved is a positive repulse towards islam.

Anonymous said...

@riaz: "resigned to its fate, and it has infinite patience in the face of horrible injustice. "

You mean Indians have more patience than muslim women. Please note that I am an agnostic with hatred towards all organized religions. To me when a muslim points out flaws in other religions while ignore the horrible treatment given to women is so hiprocratic that it only brings out the worst in me.

Riaz Haq said...

dcruncher: "You mean Indians have more patience than muslim women."

The answer is a unequivocal YES. Indians live in society whose tradition of caste system legitimizes the exploitation of one group of people by another.

In spite of all the denials you hear from Indians, caste system is alive and well in India, and its effects can be seen everywhere. Even the Indian democracy is seriously flawed because people vote their caste rather than cast their votes.

In terms of gender discrimination, India fares very badly, starting from suttee to the treatment of widows abandoned in temples and streets, to female feticide, the Indian customs legitimize the exploitation of women.

Anonymous said...

last I checked indian women do not wear burqas or does not get permission to drive (like Saudi Arabia). last I checked an indian male can not divorce by saying talaq 3 times. Last I checked an Indian women does not lose custody of child in case of divorce.
last I checked an indian male does not get religion-sponsored birth right to marry 4 times.

You are free to delude that women in islam are treated better. You are the blog owner, so you can assert anything you want.

Anonymous said...


Simple difference between the muslim pakistan and hindu india is that the law does not discrminate whether on the basis of caste or gender

Caste exploitation was of the past. Today if a person calls a dalit by name he is going to be in the jail for minimum six months without bail.

Women discrimination will land the man into trouble. Today problems of india is poverty and over population due to medical advancement without corresponding fall in birth rate [ curse of democracy when compared to china ]

Not as a justification but a impartial observation, when the education and standard of living increases, the discrmination on the basis of gender start reducing as the both the gender possess the same amount of economic standing.

Further i thought this particular thread is expect to discuss the recent blasts in pakistan and i think nothing of india discrimination anywhere has contributed for that.

Riaz Haq said...

Anon: "last I checked indian women do not wear burqas or does not get permission to drive (like Saudi Arabia). last I checked an indian male can not...."

Ok, then explain the following:

1. Why is there a female feticide going on in India that has badly skewed the at-birth femsle-male ratios to as low as 300 females for 1000 males in parts of India? Why is the prime minister calling it India's shame and needs to launch "save the girl child" campaign?

Here are the latest statistics from the CIA's The World Factbook on male-female ratios in India and Pakistan:

India at birth: 1.12 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.1 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.9 male(s)/female
total population: 1.06 male(s)/female (2009 est.)

China at birth: 1.1 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.13 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.91 male(s)/female
total population: 1.06 male(s)/female (2009 est.)

Pakistan at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.88 male(s)/female
total population: 1.04 male(s)/female (2009 est.)

United Kingdom
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.76 male(s)/female
total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2009 est.)

United States
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.75 male(s)/female
total population: 0.97 male(s)/female (2009 est.)

2. Why is there a 22% literacy gapbetween men and women in India, far worse than most of the Muslim nations?

3. Why is it that India stands at a dismally low position of 53 among 58 countries for "gender gap," according to a survey by the World Economic Forum (WEF).

Anonymous said...


Did you notice that under-15 India's sex ratio is better than all countries. Could you throw some light as how it is possible?
Does this mean that other countries kill more female infants or little children than indians.

"2. Why is there a 22% literacy gapbetween men and women in India, far worse than most of the Muslim nations?"

But the female literacy by itself in India is far better than most of muslim nations. Why is that not taken into consideration? This is like saying Miandas being the maximum century scorer for Pakistan is better than Gavaskar who is only second max century scorer for India.Never mind that Miandad scored only 22 test hundreds and Gavaskar 34 test 100s.
Do you see how weak is your argument.
India's female literacy is 54%.
Your Pakistan and other countries here:-

Note: Do you have more recent one.
The above ones shows women in islamic countries are pathetically behind women in India.

Do you know in US, the pay difference between genders is roughly 21% for the same job. For every dollar a man gets, a woman gets only 79 cents What does it tell

Riaz Haq said...

Anon: "Did you notice that under-15 India's sex ratio is better than all countries. "

You are not reading it correctly. India's 1.1 male/female ratio for under-15 is worse than Pakistan's, US's, UK's ratios in the range of 1.05. Only China's is 1.13 is worse than India's because of its one child policy.

Anon: "But the female literacy by itself in India is far better than most of muslim nations. "

No, it's not. Almost all Muslim nations have higher literacy rates overall and narrower gender gap than India's, with a couple of exceptions. In fact almost all Muslim nations rank higher than India in terms of human development.

Anon: "Do you know in US, the pay difference between genders is roughly 21% for the same job. For every dollar a man gets, a woman gets only 79 cents What does it tell"

It says the gender gap exists in all parts of the world, but the extent of the gap varies widely. It's much worse in India than almost all countries of the world. In a WEF gender gap survey, India and Pakistan both rank near the bottom.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a New York Times report about recent US assistance to Pakistan prior to the Waziristan operation:

During preparations this spring for the Pakistani campaigns in Swat and South Waziristan, President Obama personally intervened at the request of Pakistan’s top army general to speed the delivery of 10 Mi-17 troop transport helicopters. Senior Pentagon officials have also hurried spare parts for Cobra helicopter gunships, night vision goggles, body armor and eavesdropping equipment to the fight.

American military surveillance drones are feeding video images and target information to Pakistani ground commanders, and the Pentagon has quietly provided the Pakistani Air Force with high-resolution, infrared sensors for F-16 warplanes, which Pakistan is using to guide bomb attacks on militants’ strongholds in South Waziristan.

In addition, the number of American Special Forces soldiers and support personnel who are training and advising Pakistani Army and paramilitary troops has doubled in the past eight months, to as many as 150, an American adviser said. The Americans do not conduct combat operations.

The increasing American role in shoring up the Pakistani military’s counterinsurgency abilities comes as the Obama administration debates how much of a troop commitment to make in neighboring Afghanistan. It also takes place as Taliban attacks are spreading into Pakistani cities. It is unclear whether Pakistani authorities are using any of the sophisticated surveillance equipment to combat the urban terrorism.

Underscoring the complexity of the relationship between the allies, Pakistani officials are loath to publicize the aid because of the deep-seated anti-American sentiment in Pakistan. And they privately express frustration about the pace and types of aid, which totals about $1.5 billion this year.

Riaz Haq said...

Here are some interesting excerpts from a piece by Anjum Niaz in Pakistan's Daily Dawn today:

‘If I were a Pakistani, I would worry… there are frightening times ahead,’ Seymour Hersh warned. ‘You guys are next after Iran,’ he told me when I asked about American designs on our nukes. ‘Your nuclear programme is the target.’ Well wired with intelligence sources, not just in the American CIA, but the Mossad in Israel, RAW in India and the ISI in Pakistan; the Pulitzer Prize winner operates via sources crawling around these intelligence agencies who have over the years gladly handed him classified information.

‘If Musharraf was to go down south (exit),’ Hersh said four years ago, ‘there’ll be a traffic jam! There’ll be the CIA, Mossad and RAW jumping in to grab your nuclear facilities. It will be a free-for-all. The ISI and the Pakhtoons are terribly concerned.’ Earlier, he alleged in a November 2001 New Yorker article that Al Qaida was founded at a 1988 meeting in Peshawar. He quoted a former Pakistani diplomat who said, ‘If you go through the officers’ list, almost all of the ISI regulars would say of the Taliban, ‘They are my boys.’’

I pressed on with my questions on Pakistan’s security issues vis-à-vis Iran and India. How would a nearly nuclear armed Iran react if India and Pakistan were to go to war? In his typical New York accent, he answered, ‘Iran is not making nuclear weapons. It’s Israel you should be worrying about. With 600 nukes bristling under its arm, Tel Aviv is the greatest threat to the regional security. Other than Pakistan, there’s no Muslim country with a bomb.’

Castigating the New York Times, Hersh continued, ‘I throw a challenge to the Times to do a critical piece on Israel’s foreign policy and how it influences America. We must separate ourselves from Israeli interests and stop Israel from confusing the issue.’

Except for two walkouts, the rest of the audience, a 1000-strong, clap and cheer when he speaks of Israeli lobbyists infiltrating the power corridors in America to successfully mind-control policy-makers.

‘Hezbollah is not a terrorist organisation nor is it threatening our security one iota! Why then are the NYT and Washington Post pursuing the Israeli storyline? Israeli agents have infiltrated the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) in Vienna. ‘Muslims are not terrorists, as Israel alleges.’

Riaz Haq said...

The Supreme Court of Pakistan has unanimously declared NRO null and void ab initio, according to Dawn News:

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court has declared the controversial National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) null and void in a short order.

In a landmark decision, the apex court unanimously decided that the ordinance was unconstitutional.

All old cases that had been dismissed under the NRO stand revived and can now be reopened as per the court orders.

The court said that all orders that were passed and all acquittals under the NRO were illegal and never existed.

The apex court in its order also said that all convictions that were held prior to the enactment of the NRO stand revived as well.

Now the Zar dari camp is expected to argue that, under the constitution of Pakistan, President Zardari is immune from prosecution as long as he is in office.

Related Links:

Swi ss Corruption Probe Against Zardari

NRO, Democracy and Corruption in South Asia

Pakistan's Intelligence Failure Amidst Daily Carnage

Riaz Haq said...

Here is a BBC story about the aftermath of Pakistan's amnesty reversal:

A judge in Karachi has summoned the Interior Minister, Rehman Malik to appear before an anti-corruption court.

It follows a court ruling this week which ruled out an immunity granted to the minister and thousands of other Pakistani officials.

Mr Malik is one of around 250 officials whose corruption and criminal cases have been re-opened.

On Thursday Defence Minister Ahmed Mukhtar was barred from going to China after he was stopped at the airport.

Mr Mukhtar said immigration officials prevented him from boarding the plane for an official visit.

The latest developments after the supreme court ruled on Wednesday that an amnesty protecting senior members of government was unconstitutional.

Only recently has it been revealed that more than 8,000 politicians and officials benefited from the legislation.

Those under investigation are barred from leaving Pakistan but the others have so far not been named.

Presidential immunity

The BBC's Aleem Maqbool in Islamabad says that the ruling has thrown Pakistan's political administration into turmoil.

Our correspondent says that calls are growing for the president and the entire government to step down - something presidential aides have said will not happen.

The controversial amnesty was brought in by the previous president, Pervez Musharraf, and its removal opens the way to possible prosecution for allies of the current President, Asif Zardari.

Mr Zardari himself faces several pending court cases against him in Pakistan but is protected by presidential immunity.

Before taking office, he spent years in jail after being convicted on corruption charges he says were politically motivated.

Pakistan's main opposition, the Pakistan Muslim League-N of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, has called on the president to resign.

Exit list

Mr Mukhtar told local television that his name was on the "exit list" restricting travel and that the federal investigation authorities had said he could not leave the country.

He told Geo TV that he had been planning to visit China for three days on an official visit in connection with the delivery of a warship.

"It was in connection with a corruption case but there is no corruption case against me - it is only an inquiry which is pending against me for the past 12 years."

He said he would "strongly defend" himself in court.

The amnesty was introduced by Mr Musharraf in order to allow Mr Zardari's late wife, Benazir Bhutto, to return to the country and stand for office, with the aim of a possible power-sharing deal with Mr Musharraf.

She returned to Pakistan from abroad after the so-called National Reconciliation Ordinance was signed into law, but was assassinated soon after.

Riaz Haq said...

Here is a BBC report about Taliban's brazen Kabul attacks and how the Taliban deliberately avoided civilian casualties, unlike the Pakistani Taliban:

The Taliban, we learned later, having failed to storm the government buildings they had at first targeted, sought shelter elsewhere.

At least four went into a crowded shopping centre.

If their intention had been to kill as many people as possible, it would have been achievable there.

But they didn't. They ordered everyone - shoppers and shopkeepers alike - out. Soon the building was on fire.

The Taliban fighters died amid the flames, most of them in a volley of gunfire, while the last man alive blew himself up.

The number of civilians who died was - given the scale of what was happening - surprisingly low.

From Pakistan, we learned, a Taliban spokesman had called a news agency, while the attack was still under way, to announce that 20 of its militants were involved.

The public relations management was as vital to the perpetrators as the co-ordination of the attack itself.

This care, this determination to avoid civilian deaths is now part of the conflict in Afghanistan.

It is something the Taliban shares with its Nato enemies.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a NY Times recent story about Dr. Umar Kundi who was alleged to be involved in Lahore attacks on Pakistan's ISI and Sri Lankan cricket teams:

Umar Kundi was his parents’ pride, an ambitious young man from a small town who made it to medical school in the big city. It seemed like a story of working-class success, living proof in this unequal society that a telephone operator’s son could become a doctor.

But things went wrong along the way. On campus Mr. Kundi fell in with a hard-line Islamic group. His degree did not get him a job, and he drifted in the urban crush of young people looking for work. His early radicalization helped channel his ambitions in a grander, more sinister way.

Instead of healing the sick, Mr. Kundi went on to become one of Pakistan’s most accomplished militants. Working under a handler from Al Qaeda, he was part of a network that carried out some of the boldest attacks against the Pakistani state and its people last year, the police here say. Months of hunting him ended on Feb. 19, when he was killed in a shootout with the police at the age of 29.

Mr. Kundi and members of his circle — educated strivers who come from the lower middle class — are part of a new generation that has made militant networks in Pakistan more sophisticated and deadly. Al Qaeda has harnessed their aimless ambition and anger at Pakistan’s alliance with the United States, their generation’s most electrifying enemy.

“These are guys who use Google Maps to plan their attacks,” said a senior Punjab Province police official. “Their training is better than our national police academy.”

Like Mr. Kundi, many came of age in the 1990s, when jihad was state policy — aimed at challenging Indian control in Kashmir — and jihadi groups recruited openly in universities. Under the influence of Al Qaeda, their energies have been redirected and turned inward, against Pakistan’s own government and people.

That shift has fractured long-established militant networks, which were once supported by the state, producing a patchwork of new associations that are fluid and defy easy categorization.

“The situation now is quite confusing,” said Tariq Parvez, director of the National Counterterrorism Authority in Islamabad, Pakistan’s capital. “We can no longer talk in terms of organizations. Now it’s a question of like-minded militants.”

The result has been deadly. In 2009, militant attacks killed 3,021 Pakistanis, three times as many as in 2006.

The issue is urgent. Pakistan is in the midst of a youth bulge, with more than a million people a year pouring into the job market, and the economy — at its current rate — is not growing fast enough to absorb them. Only a tiny fraction choose militancy, but acute joblessness exacerbates the risk.

Riaz Haq said...

Here is a BBC report about Pakistan court acquittals of terror suspects due to lack of sufficient evidence:

A Pakistani court has acquitted nine men accused of planning two deadly attacks on security targets, including one which killed the army's top medic.

A suicide bomber killed Lt Gen Mushtaq Baig with seven others in February 2008. He is the most senior military official to be killed since 2001.

Just weeks earlier, several employees of Pakistan's intelligence agency were killed in a suicide attack on a bus.

But the judge said there was not enough evidence. The men pleaded not guilty.

The 2008 suicide bombings left 16 people dead and wounded dozens more.

"Due to lack of evidence, no charges can be proved against the accused," judge Malik Akram Awan said in the anti-terrorism court in Rawalpindi on Thursday.

But the court said the men would be held in "preventative custody" at home because they are still under investigation.

The public prosecutor, Bilal Ahmed, told the BBC they "produced several witnesses and lots of evidence."

Mr Ahmed said that those acquitted included the alleged ringleader, Dr Abdul Razzak, an employee at a local government hospital, who was charged in both cases.

The decision comes 10 days after another Pakistani court acquitted four men of being involved in the bombing of Islamabad's Marriott hotel in 2008.

This continues a trend in which dozens of suspects charged in high-profile militant attacks have recently been freed.

Their acquittal now raises serious questions about the government's ability to investigate and solve such high profile attacks.

Riaz Haq said...

Recent acquittals of the accused in high-profile terror cases in Pakistan for lack of evidence are shining light on the incompetence of police investigators and prosecutors in Pakistan. Here are some excerpts from a Dawn editorial on this subject:

The recent spate of acquittals of alleged terrorists has brought into question the authorities’ capacity to investigate and try terrorism-related crimes.

Since April, at least 33 alleged terrorists have been released by anti-terrorism courts, mostly because of lack of evidence. They had been indicted and prosecuted for nine suicide attacks carried out in Islamabad and Rawalpindi in 2007 and 2008, killing more than 150 people.

The latest to be acquitted were six men charged with carrying out bomb blasts at the Islamabad district courts and Aabpara market in July 2007. Earlier on, those charged in four suicide attacks on military targets in Rawalpindi and two bomb attacks on Islamabad’s Marriott Hotel, as well as in an attack on the Kamra Aeronautical Complex in December 2007, had been acquitted. This spate of acquittals by the lower courts was preceded by the Lahore High Court’s overturning of the 2008 conviction of two men for their role in plotting an attack on the then president Pervez Musharraf in Rawalpindi in 2007.

Whether the acquitted were innocent and wrongfully charged, or guilty but acquitted due to lack of evidence, our failure to incapacitate terrorists is obvious. If the acquitted are guilty, it sends out an ominous sign that the state is not serious about bringing the militants to book. Enhanced security is not enough to foil attacks.

Proper investigations resulting in concrete evidence are important to locate the source of a particular terrorist attack. The ability to analyse such data can help prevent future attacks. If we want to make effective use of the criminal justice system to prevent terrorism, a more disciplined approach is needed so that the courts have the needed evidence for convictions. Only then can we hope to have a strong and effective justice system for the hundreds who fall victim to terror attacks each year.

Riaz Haq said...

The ISI is hated by Pakistan's enemies mainly because it is the best at what it does in terms of protecting Pakistan interests. Some in the CIA, RAW and Mossad show a natural professional jealousy and envy of the ISI....and they try and slander it as often as they can through their friendly media and its blind followers.

Here's a website "" that ranks as ISI #1 intelligence agency in the world...followed by MOSSAD, MI6, CIA, MSS, BND, FSB, DGSE, RAW and ASIS.

Here's what the website says about ISI:

Formed 1948
Jurisdiction Government of Pakistan
Headquarters Islamabad, Pakistan
Agency executive Lieutenant General Ahmad Shuja Pasha, PA Director General

With the lengthiest track record of success, the best know Intelligence so far on the scale of records is ISI. The Inter-Services Intelligence was created as an independent unit in 1948 in order to strengthen the performance of Pakistan’s Military Intelligence during the Indo-Pakistani War of 1947. Its success in achieving its goal without leading to a full scale invasion of Pakistan by the Soviets is a feat unmatched by any other through out the intelligence world. KGB, The best of its time, failed to counter ISI and protect Soviet interests in Central Asia. This GOLD MEDAL makes it rank higher than Mossad. It has had 0 double agents or Defectors through out its history, considering that in light of the whole war campaign it carried out from money earned by selling drugs bought from the very people it was bleeding, The Soviets. It has protected its Nuclear Weapons since formed and it has foiled Indian attempts to attain ultimate supremacy in the South-Asian theatres through internal destabilization of India. It is above All laws in its host country Pakistan ‘A State, with in a State’. Its policies are made ‘outside’ of all other institutions with the exception of The Army. Its personnel have never been caught on camera. Its is believed to have the highest number of agents worldwide, close to 10,000. The most striking thing is that its one of the least funded Intelligence agency out of the top 10 and still the strongest.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a new poll published by on the unpopularity of US drone attacks in FATA:

LThe CIA can kill militants all day long. If the drone war in Pakistan drives the local people into al Qaeda’s arms, it’ll be failure. A new poll of the Pakistani tribal areas, released this morning, suggests that could easily wind up happening. Chalk one up for drone skeptics like counterinsurgent emeritus David Kilcullen and ex-CIA Director Michael Hayden.

Only 16 percent of respondents to a new poll sponsored by the drone-watchers at the New America Foundation say that the drone strikes “accurately target militants.” Three times that number say they “largely kill civilians.”

CIA director Leon Panetta, by contrast, has staunchly defended the drone program as meticulously targeting terrorists. In a war that depends heavily on perceptions, it’s a big discrepancy.

There’s more bad news for Panetta and his boss in the White House. A plurality of respondents in the tribal areas say that the U.S. is primarily responsible for violence in the region. Nearly 90 percent want the U.S. to stop pursuing militants in their backyard and nearly 60 percent are fine with suicide bombings directed at the Americans. That comes as NATO accelerates incursions into Pakistan. Just this morning, it announced that a pursuit of insurgents in Afghanistan’s Paktiya Province led to a U.S. helicopter shooting at the militants from Pakistani airspace. Enraged Pakistani officials responded by shutting down a critical NATO supply line into Afghanistan.

Whatever NATO says, very few in the tribal regions are inclined to believe the U.S. is in Afghanistan and occasionally in Pakistan to fight terrorism. They think the U.S. is waging “larger war on Islam or… an effort to secure oil and minerals in the region.”

On the brighter side, wide majorities in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas disapprove of al Qaeda (over three-quarters), the Pakistani Taliban (over two-thirds) and the Afghan Taliban (60 percent). There’s also strong support for the Pakistani army: almost 70 percent want the army to directly confront al Qaeda and the Taliban in the region; 79 percent say they wouldn’t mind if the tribal area were run by the army.

Now for the qualifiers. Polling in the conflict-heavy tribal areas is a dicey proposition. A survey last year of the tribal areas published in the Daily Times found that almost two-thirds of respondents wanted the U.S. drone campaign to continue. So either support for the drones has bottomed out or there’s significant methodological discrepancies. The Pakistani firm that actually conducted the new poll of 1000 respondents across 120 FATA villages, the Community Appraisal and Motivation Programme, has polled the area for years.

Read More

Riaz Haq said...

Here are some excerpts from a piece by David Pilling of Financial Times published recently:

(There have ben many a dire warning about Pakistan failing), yet Pakistan has survived. In its partial victories against Islamist militants it may even have made some kind of progress. It is all too easy to think of Pakistan as a failing – even a failed – state. But it might be better to see it as the state that refuses to fail.

To appreciate just how remarkable this is, cast your mind back to this dangerous year’s catalogue of fire and brimstone. First, following its victory in Swat, the army turned its attention on South Waziristan, bombarding militants in lawless areas bordering Afghanistan. Many considered that an important step, given the well-documented links between the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) spy agency and tribal militants, part of Pakistan’s quest for “strategic depth” in Afghanistan.

Second, and partly as a result of the army’s offensives, there has been a wave of counter-attacks on hotels, mosques and police stations. Last October, militants mounted a brazen raid on the supposedly impregnable headquarters of the 500,000-strong army. That led to alarm that men with beards and a less-than-glowing feeling towards America were getting perilously close to Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal.

Third, Pakistan has had to adapt to a dramatic shift in US policy towards Afghanistan. In December, President Barack Obama ordered a surge of 30,000 extra troops, a military intensification that has sent militants scurrying across the border into Pakistan. Worse from Islamabad’s point of view, the US president has committed to drawing down those troops from next summer, a retreat, if it happens, that would once again leave Pakistan alone in a nasty neighbourhood.

Fourth, the economic outlook remains precarious. Pakistan just about avoided a balance of payments crisis which, at one point, saw its reserves dwindle to just one month’s import cover. But respite has come at the cost of being in hock to the International Monetary Fund, which has extended some $7bn in loans. With tax receipts at a miserable 9 per cent of output, it is unclear how it will make ends meet.

As if these man-made calamities were not enough, Pakistan has been drowning in the worst floods in its history. At one point, no less than one-fifth of the country was under water.....

Remarkably it has not been. Why not? A partial explanation for Pakistan’s staying power is that it has become an extortionary state that thrives on crisis...

There are more benign explanations too. The strength of civil society has helped. Many refugees from the floods, like those from Swat, have found temporary shelter with the networks of friends and relatives that bind the country together. The army’s response to the floods has also underscored, for better or worse, the efficiency of the state’s best-run institution. Even the civilian administration, weak and discredited as it is, has clung on. If, as now seems plausible, Mr Zardari can survive, power could yet be transferred from one democratically elected administration to another for the first time in Pakistan’s 63-year history.

One should not overstate Pakistan’s resilience. The world is rightly alarmed at the mayhem that rages at its centre. But, if you care to look on the bright side, you might conclude that, if Pakistan can survive a year like this, it can survive anything.

Riaz Haq said...

Here are some excerpts from a Wall Street Journal report on suicide bombings teenage recruits in Pakistan:

KARACHI, Pakistan—The recruitment described by a 14-year-old alleged terrorist in this teeming port city shows the growing spread of a web of extremist groups in the region.

On Monday, Mohammad Salaam and two alleged members of the Pakistan Taliban, which is locked in a two-year-old war with the Pakistani state, were arrested by police as they allegedly prepared a suicide attack.

In an interview at a Karachi police station, with policemen present, Mr. Salaam described a short path to becoming a suicide bomber. "They would brainwash me by talking about jihad all the time," he said of his Pakistan Taliban minders. "I could feel it in my soul."

Mr. Salaam remains in detention, but hasn't been charged. Police said he will be released because he is a minor.

The Pakistan Taliban, which operate chiefly from remote tribal areas, have been able to forge deep ties in this city of 18 million, and in other cities and towns, through connections with local Islamist extremist groups that procure funds and recruit would-be suicide bombers.

Those bonds are one reason the Pakistani military is reluctant to act on mounting pressure from the U.S. to broaden its war in the tribal regions in the northwest of the country. U.S. officials say an offensive in the North Waziristan tribal region is needed to root out Afghan Taliban and allied groups that attack U.S. troops over the border in Afghanistan.

But Pakistan's military says such an operation would be met by an escalation of attacks by Pakistan Taliban and its allies, unleashing retaliatory strikes in Karachi and other major urban centers they have infiltrated across the country.

"There would be a wave of suicide bombings across Pakistan," said Gen. Athar Abbas, the military's chief spokesman.

After the current offensive against the Pakistan Taliban began two years ago, the group retaliated with attacks in several cities against government, police and military targets, as well as shrines seen by extremists as heretical.

The Pakistan Taliban claimed responsibility for an attack this month on Karachi's revered Abdullah Shah Ghazi shrine, which killed eight people. An attack Monday on a shrine in southern Punjab killed five.

The group has also attracted recruits from outside Pakistan. The failed Times Square bomber, Faisal Shehzad, said he trained in North Waziristan with the Pakistan Taliban.

Links between the Pakistn Taliban, a network of militants mainly from the Pashtun Mehsud tribe of South Waziristan, and extremist groups in Karachi have deepened in recent months, local police say.

One of the men arrested on Monday, Sher Rehman, was an operative with the extremist group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi who worked for the Pakistan Taliban, police officials said.

Lashkar-e-Jhangvi began in the 1990s in Pakistan's eastern Punjab province as a Sunni sectarian group targeting minority Shiites. Pakistan banned the group, along with a number of others, under U.S. pressure in 2001. Its fighters, largely ethnic Punjabis, many of whom had fought in Afghanistan and against Indian troops in Kashmir, sought shelter in the tribal regions, deepening bonds with the Taliban on both sides of the border.

It was Mr. Rehman's job to recruit fighters among Karachi's youth and to extort money from local businesses to provide funding, police said.

Riaz Haq said...

Here are some excepts from Sherbano Taseer (Salman Taseer's daughter) interview with Pakistani Islamic scholar Javaid Ahmed Ghamidi as published in Newsweek Pakistan:

Are Islam and democracy compatible?

Yes, of course. Islam favors democratic societies. In the West, they have created democracies, which may have their shortcomings, but where people listen to one another, tolerate each other's opinions, and engage in dialogue. The majority opinion is made into law, and these laws can be criticized, debated freely, and amended based on people's beliefs.

There is furor in Pakistan over the blasphemy laws. What does the Quran say about punishing those who are proven to have committed blasphemy?

There is no punishment prescribed for blasphemy in the Quran or in the sayings of the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him). Some clerics cite the case of Ibn Akhtar, but they misinterpret that incident and make it about blasphemy. Man can make laws, and these should not be misused to unfairly target or victimize anyone. Islam specifically says that taking the life of an individual is tantamount to taking the life of all humanity. It is a crime. It is wrong. Allah says true Muslims are those in whose hands others are safe.
Do you feel Pakistan can contain the extremist threat?

Let's start by not losing hope. We can contain it if we unite. There needs to be a new movement, by educated people, who can put pressure on the government so that, for one, education returns to being the responsibility of the state. Otherwise, this cancer of extremism will continue to spread. Pakistan has over 12,000 madrassahs with more than 2 million students. The countless clerics at these schools have immense sway, they have formed communities around themselves and they have weapons. And when power comes into the hands of such people—when we give them that power—you get what we have happening right now. There is nothing in the Quran or the Prophet's (peace be upon him) sayings to justify what the extremists are doing. We need to enter the playing field and correct this, and turn their arguments on their head. I have challenged them on every occasion for the past five years or so, and told them what they are saying is incorrect. They can only stay silent in return. Even in the matter of blasphemy they could not refute me, but I feel I am alone in this.
So how do we change things?

People need to understand Islam themselves, there is no other way. We need to understand the religion and launch a movement to reform society. In the West, there was a reformation movement which needs to be replicated in the East. There is strength in our arguments. You can reason with these people if you reason strongly and with facts. Islam was initially spread by a handful of people. This is how you will get success and nobody will be able to refute it. The media has a lot of power and must use this power positively, spreading the message from house to house. But the reality is that we are not ready to take up this cause. The secularists and the elite are not ready to take this up, they are not ready to talk and engage especially about beliefs.

What role do you see religious scholars playing to improve our society?

They, like doctors and engineers, are experts in their field. Their role is not to pick up guns, but to argue with facts and to present their arguments logically and calmly. Their role is not to threaten or to preach in a hostile or forceful manner in the streets, but to inform and show people the right Islam. The unfortunate reality here is that those who claim to be adherents of Allah's word are actually quite unfamiliar with the faith.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a BBC report quoting Pakistan Human Rights Commission claiming 2500 deaths in militant violence in 2010:

More than 2,500 people were killed in militant attacks in Pakistan in 2010, according to the independent Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP).

Nearly half of victims were civilians killed in suicide blasts. There were 67 such attacks last year, the group said.

The report also said at least 900 people had been killed in US drone strikes during the same period.

The number of people killed by the army is not mentioned, but it estimated to be in the region of 600-700.

Pakistani troops are battling insurgents across the north-west. Many of those it has killed are believed to be militants, but civilian lives have been lost too.

The HRCP is the main human rights watchdog in the country. Its findings are often disputed by the authorities, the BBC's Syed Shoaib Hasan in Karachi says.

The group's findings show a rise in the numbers being killed in Pakistan's conflict.

BBC research published last July suggested 1,713 people had been killed by militants over the preceding 18 months, while 746 people had died in drone attacks during the same period.
'Increasing intolerance'

The HRCP released its data in its annual report on the state of human rights and security in Pakistan between January and December 2010.

"Pakistan's biggest problem continues to be violence carried out militants," HRCP chairman Mehdi Hasan said.

"In 2010, 67 suicide attacks were carried out across the country in which 1,169 people were killed," he said. "At least 1,000 of those were civilians."

Dr Hasan said that in all 2,542 people had been killed in militant attacks in the country last year.

He said the most glaring example of government oversight had been in Balochistan province, where targeted killings shot up rapidly with 118 people being killed in 2010.

Dr Hasan said the figure was set to increase in 2011, as the government seemed unconcerned about the unravelling of the law and order situation in Balochistan.

The HRCP report also spoke about increasing intolerance against religious minorities in the country.

It said 99 members of the Ahmedi (Qadiani) sect had been killed in attacks in 2010, while 64 people had been charged under the country's blasphemy law.

There was no immediate response to the report from the Pakistani authorities, nor was there any word from militant groups.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Dawn report on Wikileaks cables regarding Saudi money funding militants in Southern Punjab:

KARACHI: A US official in a cable sent to the State Department stated that “financial support estimated at nearly 100 million USD annually was making its way to Deobandi and Ahl-i-Hadith clerics in south Punjab from organisations in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates ostensibly with the direct support of those governments.”

The cable sent in November 2008 by Bryan Hunt, the then Principal Officer at the US Consulate in Lahore, was based on information from discussions with local government and non-governmental sources during his trips to the cities of Multan and Bahawalpur.

Quoting local interlocutors, Hunt attempts to explain how the “sophisticated jihadi recruitment network” operated in a region dominated by the Barelvi sect, which, according to the cable, made south Punjab “traditionally hostile” to Deobandi and Ahl-i-Hadith schools of thought.

Hunt refers to a “network of Deobandi and Ahl-i-Hadith mosques and madrassahs” being strengthened through an influx of “charity” which originally reached organisations “such as Jamaat-ud-Dawa and Al-Khidmat foundation”. Portions of these funds would then be given away to clerics “in order to expand these sects’ presence” in a relatively inhospitable yet “potentially fruitful recruiting ground”.

Outlining the process of recruitment for militancy, the cable describes how “families with multiple children” and “severe financial difficulties” were generally being exploited for recruitment purposes. Families first approached by “ostensibly ‘charitable’” organisations would later be introduced to a “local Deobandi or Ahl-i-Hadith maulana” who would offer to educate the children at his madrassah and “find them employment in the service of Islam”. “Martyrdom” was also “often discussed”, with a final cash payment to the parents. “Local sources claim that the current average rate is approximately Rs 500,000 (approximately USD 6,500) per son,” the cable states.

Children recruited would be given age-specific indoctrination and would eventually be trained according to the madrassah teachers’ assessment of their inclination “to engage in violence and acceptance of jihadi culture” versus their value as promoters of Deobandi or Ahl-i-Hadith sects or recruiters, the cable states.

Recruits “chosen for jihad” would then be taken to “more sophisticated indoctrination camps”. “Locals identified three centres reportedly used for this purpose”. Two of the centres were stated to be in the Bahawalpur district, whereas one was reported as situated “on the outskirts of Dera Ghazi Khan city”. These centres “were primarily used for indoctrination”, after which “youths were generally sent on to more established training camps in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas and then on to jihad either in FATA, NWFP, or as suicide bombers in settled areas”.

The cable goes on to quote local officials criticising the PML-N-led provincial and the PPP-led federal governments for their “failure to act” against “extremist madrassas, or known prominent leaders such as Jaish-i-Mohammad’s Masood Azhar”. The Bahawalpur district nazim at the time told Hunt that despite repeatedly highlighting the threat posed by extremist groups and indoctrination centres to the provincial and federal governments, he had received “no support” in dealing with the issue unless he was ready to change his political loyalties. The nazim, who at the time was with the PML-Q, “blamed politics, stating that unless he was willing to switch parties…neither the Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz provincial nor the Pakistan People’s Party federal governments would take his requests seriously”.

Riaz Haq said...

Here are some excerpts from Christian Science Monitor report on recent decline in terror attacks and casualties in Pakistan:

A downturn in major terror attacks in the second half of the year and an overall decrease in civilian casualties at the hands of terrorists point to better policing and a gradual decline in the potency of militant groups, say officials and experts.

"Earlier, the Taliban would come with heavy weapons and attack and kill and slaughter at will. Those days are gone," says Fiaz Toru, former inspector general for the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province, credited with implementing a set of sweeping reforms to combat the threat posed by terrorists surrounding the province's main city of Peshawar.

In Pakistan's major cities, there have been no spectacular attacks since a daring siege carried out over two days by Taliban militants on a Karachi naval base in May in revenge for the bin Laden raid. Some 1,022 civilians have fallen victim to bomb attacks in 2011. Barring a late-year surge, this represents the lowest figure in four years, according to monitoring conducted by the New Delhi-based South Asia Terrorism Portal (last year the figure was 1,547, and it stood at 1,688 the year before).

A major part of that has to do with the removal of soft targets, says Rifaat Hussain, a security analyst at the Quaid-i-Azam University in Islamabad: "They [now] have genuine difficulty carrying out spectacular attacks."

In Peshawar, that has meant equipping police with heavy weaponry including mortars, grenade launchers, and heavy guns, as well as deploying some 2,000 police at more than 42 checkpoints on the outskirts of the city, says Mr. Toru, the former inspector general, and arming citizens to create a community police force that can act as authorities' eyes and ears.

"We've adopted a policy of proactive policing," explains Toru. Police are now routinely sent on operations in Peshawar's suburbs to root out suspected militants and materials used to construct bombs. The police's increasing responsibility has been accompanied by a doubling of salary and an increase in "martyrdom payout" (a kind of life-insurance payout that now stands at some $35,000). Perhaps, too, the Pakistani Taliban are aware of the cost of suicide attacks, adds Dr. Hussain: Where once the public sympathized with militants, groups that carry out suicide attacks are now ostracized.
Still, the overall picture is far from rosy: While organized terror strikes may be down, sectarian attacks carried out largely by LeJ against Shiite targets have in fact surged, particularly in the western province of Balochistan.

"The cities seem to be ominously quiet right now, but sectarian violence [in other areas] continues. A key test will be Muharram – how peaceful or how violent that will be," says Hussain, referring to the first month of the Islamic calendar, in which fighting is prohibited.

And while Pakistan's security forces may have gotten better at dealing with terrorism, Toru says internal reforms can only go so far. "I am optimistic, but the key lies in Afghanistan.… You need a stable Afghanistan to have a stable Pakistan. But we've come through the most critical phase of our struggle."

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan Taliban battered and splintering, reports AP-CBS:

Battered by Pakistani military operations and U.S. drone strikes, the once-formidable Pakistani Taliban has splintered into more than 100 smaller factions, weakened and is running short of cash, according to security officials, analysts and tribesmen from the insurgent heartland.

The group, allied with al-Qaida and based in the northwest close to the Afghan border, has been behind much of the violence tearing apart Pakistan over the last 4 1/2 years. Known as the Tehrik-e-Taliban, or TTP, the Taliban want to oust the U.S.-backed government and install a hard-line Islamist regime. They also have international ambitions and trained the Pakistani-American who tried to detonate a car bomb in New York City's Times Square in 2010.

"Today, the command structure of the TTP is splintered, weak and divided and they are running out of money," said Mansur Mahsud, a senior researcher at the FATA (Federally Administered Tribal Area) Research Center. "In the bigger picture, this helps the army and the government because the Taliban are now divided."

The first signs of cracks within the Pakistani Taliban appeared after its leader, Baitullah Mehsud, was killed in a drone strike in August 2009, Mahsud said. Since then, the group has steadily deteriorated.

Set up in 2007, the Pakistani Taliban is an umbrella organization created to represent roughly 40 insurgent groups in the tribal belt plus al-Qaida-linked groups headquartered in Pakistan's eastern Punjab province.

"In the different areas, leaders are making their own peace talks with the government," Mahsud added. "It could help the Pakistani government and military separate more leaders from the TTP and more foot soldiers from their commanders."

The two biggest factors hammering away at the Taliban's unity are U.S. drone strikes and Pakistani army operations in the tribal region.

Turf wars have flared as militants fleeing the Pakistani military operations have moved into territory controlled by other militants, sometimes sparking clashes between groups. And as leaders have been killed either by drones or the Pakistani army, lieutenants have fought among themselves over who will replace them.

"The disintegration ... has accelerated with the Pakistan military operation in South Waziristan and the drone attacks by the United States in North Waziristan," Mahsud said, referring to the two tribal agencies that are the heartland of the Pakistani Taliban.

Another factor is the divide-and-conquer strategy Pakistan's military has long employed in its dealings with militants. Commanders have broken away from the TTP and set up their own factions, weakening the organization. Battles have broken out among the breakaway factions, and in one particularly remote tribal region the TTP was thrown out. These growing signs of fissures among the disparate groups that make up the Pakistani Taliban indicate the military's strategy could be paying off.
Analysts predict that over time, however, the internecine feuding in the Pakistani Taliban will take a toll on militants fighting in Afghanistan, making it increasingly difficult for them to find recruits and restricting territory available to them.
Cooperation between the U.S. and Pakistan suffered a serious setback a week ago when NATO aircraft killed 24 Pakistani soldiers at two border posts. The Nov. 26 incident seems certain to blunt any prospect of Pakistan taking direct steps to curb the Haqqani network, analysts say.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's Daily Times on Pakistan Society of Criminology report:

The Pakistan Society of Criminology (PSC) on Tuesday launched a special publication on ‘Policing Terrorism and Radicalism’ outlining the police role in ongoing battle against terrorism in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP).

Edited by Queensland University Prof Geoff Dean, it is also the 12th issue of the PSC. The society has also launched, ‘Towards a Functional Juvenile Justice System in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’ and two training manuals on juvenile justice. PSC President Fasihuddin has written the publications. The manuals are the first of its kind in Pakistan. KP Inspector General Akbar Khan Hoti, chief guest on the occasion, praised the role of the PSC in identifying weak spots in police through research. “If we can win over people, we can win over the terrorists/criminals,” he spoke on the occasion. He also talked about the outdated syllabus being taught to police officers, adding that such courses could not help fight terrorism successfully.

Hoti praised the research-based articles contained in the journal, adding that some of KP Police officials were contributing to the Police Department and society through their strategic thinking and collecting data and its analysis. While appreciating the efforts of the PSC president and his team, he said that he would definitely be waiting for more researches published by the society. Assistant IG (Special Branch) Syed Akhtar Ali Shah presented his critical views about the academic achievements of the PSC and its publication, ‘Pakistan Journal of Criminology’. He said that PSC was the name of “creativity and hard work”.

Prof Dr Adnan Sarwar Khan, director of the Institute of Regional Studies at the University of Peshawar, critically evaluated the journal. He recommended that the journal should be provided to all law colleges and libraries of the police and educational institutions in the country. Fasih said the PSC was committed to carrying out original and value-free research work. He said that he would help law enforcement agencies in designing training curriculum and courses on human rights, de-radicalisation and community engagement. Uzma Mehboob, a worker of Khwendo Kor (sisters’ home), spoke on the role of civil society in promoting human protection, development and research-based policies. Police officials, the Peshawar police chief, the Elite Police commandant, the former IG (prisons), the Australian Federal Police consultant, the Counterterrorism Wing commandant, the superintendent of police (research), the Establishment AIG, senior superintendents of police (operations and coordination), the SP (traffic), the SP (rural) and teachers of the University of Peshawar were present\04\25\story_25-4-2012_pg7_10

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Washington Post story on Indian intelligence agency's incompetence:

India’s intelligence agency sparked outrage in Pakistan and self-deprecatory jokes at home this week after it listed ordinary Pakistani shopkeepers as dreaded terrorists on a mission to attack some of India’s landmark institutions.

The Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), India’s premier intelligence agency, issued an advisory to state governments, saying five trained militants from Pakistan’s banned Lashkar-i-Taiba group had sneaked into India with fake identities to attack a nuclear facility, oil refinery, sea port and defense academy.

On Wednesday, a day after U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton left New Delhi after some tough talk on Pakistan, the Mumbai police released the names and photographs of the five men.

Within hours, a Pakistani television channel claimed that three of the men on the list were shopkeepers and a guard living in Lahore.

“India Bungles, Pak laughs,” the Mail Today newspaper said of the embarrassing blunder. Twitter buzzed with unflattering jokes about India’s RAW, with some tweeters offering their own list to the agency.

The revelations sparked outrage in Pakistan. Muhammad Fayyaz Butt, the head of a traders’ association for an electronics market where two of the suspects own shops, condemned India’s “irresponsible and biased attitude.”

The two shopkeepers went to the Lahore High Court on Thursday, seeking protection from possible action against them by India.

Indian Law Minister Salman Khurshid offered an explanation to reporters in New Delhi on Friday: “We can’t be too careful. We have had some bad experiences in the past. And therefore to err on the right side is something we can’t complain about.”

It was not the first time that India has made such a faux pas. A year ago, the government released a most-wanted list of 50 Indian fugitives who it claimed were hiding in Pakistan. Two men on the list turned out to be in India, one of them a prisoner in a Mumbai jail.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Gulf News story on Pakistan modernizing its civilian intelligence bureau (IB):

Islamabad: Pakistan has decided to equip its largest civilian intelligence agency, the Intelligence Bureau (IB), with state-of-the-art spying equipment to keep an eye on other domestic agencies as well as terrorist activities.
Reliable sources told Online that billions of rupees have been spent on acquiring the modern surveillance equipment from a German Company, ULTIMACO, to turn the IB into a super modern agency.
According to sources Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, learning from his past experience, has taken this measure to not only to keep an eye on terrorism and subversive activities but also to keep an eye on activities of other intelligence agencies, which are not bound to report to civilian government.
In the past, some military-aligned agencies have kept key information hidden from the civilian govts.

The new equipment would also be used for IP interception, LT call monitoring and G-mail, Viber and BB monitoring.
The extension in service of DG IB Aftab Sultan has also been made in this respect. He is said to be an honest and reliable officer whom the govt trusts and wants that the project be completed under his supervision.
Sources said that Interior Minister Ch Nisar Ali Khan has been directed to monitor this project.
Khan, in several of his media talks, had expressed concerns that only the IB keeps them in the loop while most of the civilian and military agencies do not give them any direct information, which resulted in problems in tackling terrorism incidents.

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan is spying on its citizens, says report by British NGO
The Inter-Services Intelligence commissioned a huge system in 2013 to tap into the main fibre-optic cables entering the country, says a report of Privacy International.

The report accessed never-before released documents that show how the 'Targeted IP Monitoring System and the Common Operations Environment' will help the ISI collect and analyse a “significant portion of the communications travelling within and through the country at a centralised command centre”.

"If the project that the ISI proposed in 2013 was accomplished, and we suspect it has been, it would have massively increased the intelligence service’s capacity to monitor internet communications by increasing their collection volume," said Eric King, Deputy Director, Privacy International.

The investigation carried out by Privacy International also shows that the mass communication surveillance programme, targeting politicians, media personnel, judiciary and other civil society groups has been in place since 2005.

The report has also accessed phone-tapping statistics that show that in February the ISI was tapping 6,523 phones, 6,817 in March and 6,742 phones in April 2015. The fact that the SIM cards of most phones also contain biometric data in terms of fingerprints also helps the ISI carry out its surveillance without any legislative restrictions.

According to Matthew Rice, advocacy officer for Privacy International, "the scale of the system proposed by the Inter-Services Intelligence does not just affect those who live in Pakistan but also those who live in the region and anyone whose communications travel through Pakistan's networks. This will include a huge amount of innocent people swept up in a project like this for no good reason.”

Surveillance system

Documents attached to the report show that in June 2013, the ISI began a programme to directly tap into the main fibre optic cables entering Pakistan, which carry the bulk of the country’s communications. A note marked “Confidential” and sourced by the Privacy International researchers describe attempts to set up a “Targeted IP Monitoring System and COE (Common Operations environment)”. This aims to capture and store up to 600 giga bytes of Internet protocol traffic per second under the ISI’s control.

However, according to the report, the system could only have 200 analysts, severely limiting its ability to process large amounts of intercepted data. The ISI sought a system that is capable of monitoring “1,000 to 5,000 concurrent targets” for monitoring.

According to documents leaked by National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden, Pakistan serves as a “third party SIGINT (Signals Intelligence) partner,” for the US technical intelligence organisation. The US embassy in Pakistan along with its various consulates serve as “Special Collection Sites” for the NSA, which intercepts communications originating from Pakistan. Pakistan emerged as the nation with the highest dialled number recognition targets and the second-highest dialled number identification targets for the NSA by March 2013.

Foreign firms, domestic law

The Privacy International report also lists a number of foreign firms that have helped Pakistani security agencies, including the ISI, to install mass surveillance software and hardware. It names German companies like Atis, Trovicor, China’s Huwaei, Sweden’s Ericsson and France’s Alcatel for providing surveillance equipment and capabilities to Pakistani agencies. "Without these companies, the Pakistani government would not be able intercept its citizens communications, as they have been doing systematically for over 10 years," said King.

Riaz Haq said...

The Indian media has missed the major implications of the latest Snowden disclosures. It is not simply that India is one of the countries, or that the BJP is one of the political organisations under NSA surveillance. The real question is how is the NSA carrying out this surveillance? The answer to that lies in another piece of the puzzle that is now public – India is one the 33 countries that has “3rd party” agreement that allows NSA access its telecom and internet network subject to this intelligence being shared. In other words, India is providing NSA access, while NSA decides what it will share with Indian government – or deem what is fit to be viewed by Indians. If we recall, India's former National Security Advisor Shiv Shankar Menon had complained earlier that the issue is not that the NSA is spying on Indians, but that they are not sharing their data. This appears to be our only complaint!
Recently, the Washington Post published a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) Order dated July 16, 2010 listing all the countries including India and the six political organisations, (one of which was the BJP) that could be put under NSA surveillance. As India is one of the countries that has signed the 3rd party agreement with the US, this enables the NSA to directly access the Indian telecommunications and Internet network. No wonder, all the officials and ministers of the UPA government downplayed the NSA surveillance on Indians. We were fully a party to our being spied upon!
The US Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) is very clear on what constitutes foreign intelligence – it includes all economic and political information that may be of interest to the US in conduct of its foreign policy. That is why the Indian delegations to the G20 summit, the climate change summit and the WTO Bali ministerial were all under NSA surveillance. The US always knew the positions of the Indian delegation in any negotiations. Any senior official up to the PM is therefore fair game. The difference is that instead of protecting such individuals from foreign spying, we are making it even easier by granting them access to our network.

The initial round of Snowden disclosures had given the extent of spying that NSA was carrying out in India. According to The Hindu report by Glen Greenwald and Shobhan Saxena (Sepetmber23, 2013) in March 2013, the NSA “collected 6.3 billion pieces of information from the Internet network” and “6.2 billion pieces of information from the country’s telephone networks”. Even then, people were interested to know how was it possible for NSA to have secured such a large volume of data from India's telecom and internet network? Though foreign telecom companies – Verizon, AT&T and Vodafone -- are undoubtedly involved (Home Ministry reports), that alone is not sufficient to explain the huge amount of data that NSA is syphoning off from the Indian network.
What is now clear is that lacking the ability to spy on our people, the Indian security agencies were willing to barter our privacy to NSA's for “sharing” its intelligence. This is the essence of the third party agreement. This is why Shiv Shankar Menon's complaint, which stated in so many words is that let us not worry about the NSA accessing our networks, but only about their sharing the “intelligence goodies” with us.

Riaz Haq said...

Surveillance in Pakistan
More than 70 per cent of the country's population has mobile phone subscriptions, and an estimated 11 per cent of the population uses the internet, the report said. This makes surveillance in Pakistan advanced and comprehensive as there are currently 50 operational internet providers and five mobile phone operators.

Some of the interception of Pakistani phone networks has been unlawful, the report claims. A case at the Supreme Court pertaining to phone tapping showed that the ISI allegedly tapped 6,523 phones in February, 6,819 in March and 6,742 in April this year.

The Pakistani military and intelligence have allegedly received high levels of funding from governments abroad in order to develop an advanced surveillance infrastructure due to the country's role in countering insurgents and Islamist groups. The report claims that agencies within the government went forward with mass storage and capture of communications of ordinary citizens. On the other hand, in the past they had mainly referred to tactical military surveillance tools.

The report also claims that the Peshawar school attack in 2014, which claimed 150 lives, has been cited as a reason to increase surveillance of communications in the country and popular support for it is high.

The report stated that Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA) requires all Internet Service Providers (ISP) to provide the authority with information on their clients. As an anti-terrorism measure, PTA allegedly ordered all phone service providers and ISP to ban virtual private networks (VPN) and encryption. Banning their use has a negative impact on, journalists and sources for instance, to safely communicate information pertaining to public interest, the report elaborates.

The report claims that the PTA's licensing requires all phone service providers to make their networks ‘lawful interception-compliant’. This allows them to have access to their data.

Pakistan's cooperation in international surveillance
The government of Pakistan is known to be the largest recipient of funds from the NSA and it is allegedly involved in surveillance against its own citizens, the report claims. Pakistan is also NSA's third party partner, which means that the relationship between the two is considered to be long-term, involving “higher degrees of trust” and “greater levels of cooperation”.

The report adds that the NSA would “willing to share advanced techniques…in return for that partner’s willingness to do something politically risky”.

Pakistan's relationship with the NSA is valued to the extent that the US agency allegedly maintains a ‘special collection service’ at its embassy and consulates in Pakistan, the report claims.

Pakistani phone service providers such as Telenor, Warid, Ufone, Mobilink and Pakistan Telecommunications Limited (PTCL) have allegedly provided legal interception access and monitoring centres over the years.

Recommendations to defence committee, foreign companies and governments
The report also contains recommendations on how Pakistan may be able to shift from its current surveillance model to one that is not a threat to democracy and complies with human rights laws.

It recommends the senate committee on defence to carry out an investigation into NSA's surveillance in Pakistan and the legality of their actions, as well as the extent of arrangements made between the country's intelligence agencies and the NSA. Furthermore, it recommends that the committee should also conduct an investigation into GCHQ's alleged access to the Pakistan Internet Exchange.

To foreign companies the report recommends periodic reviews of the government's use of technology sold to them and decline further maintenance or updates if ultimately the use is not in accordance to contractual obligations. It further says that usage should be made clear in contractual agreements which include human rights safeguards and safety against unlawful usage.


Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan has been building out its surveillance capabilities, according to a new report from the UK-based watchdog group Privacy International. The plan includes outlines for collecting broadband internet traffic, phone records, and cellular data transmissions en masse. They're along the lines of programs already run by the NSA and GCHQ, but they could end up even more invasive when combined with Pakistan's existing registration systems. The country requires universal SIM card registration by fingerprint, and maintains a national biometric ID program.

Much of the detail in the report is drawn from a series of contractor requests Pakistan made in 2013. "What the ISI wanted to build," the report says, "was a complete surveillance system that would capture mobile communications data, including Wi-Fi, all broadband internet traffic, and any data transmitted over 3G." It's still unclear how much of that capability Pakistan was able to achieve, but it's clear the country's intelligence agency had ambitions to equal Western surveillance agencies.

More controversially, they often ended up working with Western companies to fulfill those ambitions. To enable "lawful intercept" capability in the phone system, the country turned to familiar telecommunications companies like Ericsson, Alcatel, and Huawei. Records also indicate Pakistan monitored its citizens' web traffic with software from a US company called Narus, and also had working relationships with intrusion software vendors like FinFisher and Hacking Team. While much of that software is already export-controlled, the country seems to have had no problem meeting customs requirements for much of the US and Europe. Germany alone authorized nearly 4 million euro in export licenses to Pakistan specifically for the purpose of "monitoring technology and spyware software."

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistani intelligence sought to tap worldwide internet traffic via underwater cables that would have given the country a digital espionage capacity to rival the US, according to a report by Privacy International.

The report says the country’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency hired intermediary companies to acquire spying toolkits from western and Chinese firms for domestic surveillance.

It also claims the ISI sought access to tap data from three of the four “landing sites” that pass through the country’s port city of Karachi, effectively giving it access to internet traffic worldwide.

Pakistan was in talks with a European company in 2013 to acquire the technology, but it is not clear whether the deal went through – a fact the rights organisation said was troubling.

“These cables are going to route data through various countries and regions,” Matthew Rice, an advocacy officer for Privacy International, said.

“Some will go from Europe to Africa and all the way to south-east Asia. From my reading that’s an explicit attempt to look at what’s going on.”

Traffic from North America and regional rival India would also be routed via the cables, he said.

The report, based on what it called previously unpublished confidential documents, said the data collection sought in the ISI’s proposal “would rival some of the world’s most powerful surveillance programmes” including those of the US and Britain.

A spokesman for Pakistan’s military said he was not able to comment on the issue at the present time.

Last month Pakistani rights campaigners and opposition lawmakers urged Islamabad to protect the privacy of its citizens after leaked top-secret documents appeared to show British intelligence had gained access to almost all of the country’s internet users.

Pakistan is in the process of debating its own cybercrime bill, which rights campaigners say threatens to curtail freedom of expression and privacy in its current form.

Rights groups also expressed concern over a provision that allows the government to share intelligence with foreign spy agencies, such as the American National Security Agency, and a plan to force service providers to retain telephone and email records for up to a year.

Riaz Haq said...

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has decided to block BlackBerry Enterprise Services throughout the country with effect from November 18, sources said on Friday.

The sources told Geo News the authorities decided to ban the services as they were not able to decrypt the communication carried out through BlackBerry Enterprise in Pakistan.

They said that the PTA has sent a letter to all the mobile phone operators in the country to put an end to the services.

The sources, however, added that the ban would not affect common consumers as the BlackBerry Enterprise services are essentially used by corporate organisations.

Riaz Haq said...

If social media can be used to recruit terrorists, it can also be used to stop them.

In testimony before a Senate panel last week, FBI Director James Comey stated that ISIS has over 21,000 English-speaking followers on Twitter and that this form of “crowdsourcing terrorism” is living proof that social media works. Unfortunately, it appears that this type of internet-based recruiting of “Lone Wolf” terrorists has worked yet again as manifested by yesterday’s attack at two military facilities in Chattanooga which left four dead and three others injured. One news source reported that prior to the shooting the suspect posted on his blog Islamic rhetoric referring to “separate the inhabitants of Paradise from the inhabitants of Hellfire.”

Well, if social media can work for ISIS in recruiting these self-radicalized terrorists or individual lone wolf attackers, it can also work against them. As concerned citizens and guardians of our communities we the people can mobilize to report posts from potential lone wolf attackers who seek to injure and kill others. A familiar mantra from law enforcement over the years has been to stay vigilant in our fight against crime. Today, staying vigilant online is just as important—and, as demonstrated by a recent case in Canada— can result in saving lives.

This past February, a Geneva, Illinois woman was arrested in Canada for a shooting plot after leaving a trail on social media, including a post prior to her arrest that said “Let’s go commit mass homicide.” Lindsay Souvannarath posted disturbing pictures advocating race hatred, an allegiance to Hitler and Nazi beliefs, bizarre photos of herself and others, and what appeared to be a fascination with mass killers and their handiwork, especially the Columbine High School shooters and their tools of murder. Police received a tip about a couple planning a Valentine’s Day massacre at a mall in Halifax, Canada, and she was arrested by Canadian police on charges of conspiracy to commit mass murder. Her partner in this thwarted crime committed suicide before authorities could take him into custody.

As responsible citizens who care about our communities, we need to assist law enforcement in serving as their on-line “eyes and ears” when we see threatening posts. Maybe even more importantly when we see posts and also have personal knowledge of potential offenders securing or practicing with weapons or making threats against specific individuals or groups we can “connect the dots” and provide that information to local, state or federal authorities. If you are online and read a post that includes terrorist-related chatter, threats and postings regarding weapons and mass murder, or information on upcoming or planned attacks, don’t assume that someone else will report it. Take personal responsibility and call your local police or federal authorities. If terrorist organizations or lone wolf attackers believe social media works for them, let’s show them it can also work against them.

Riaz Haq said...

#Balochistan govt to deploy surveillance drones. #Pakistan #terrorism via @ePakistanToday

Balochistan government decided on aerial surveillance of criminals in an attempt to regain stability in the province which has been wracked by ethnic, sectarian and militant violence.

Balochistan govt wrote a letter to the federal government seeking permission to deploy surveillance drones in the province, sources reported.

The provincial authorities announced on Saturday that it would purchase drone cameras to monitor the activities of criminals.

Home Secretary Akber Hussain Durrani told a local media outlet that the govt has forwarded a summary to the FG seeking permission.