Monthly Archives: June 2012

Scrutiny of Indian Investigation profile

This is a Pakpotpourri Exclusive

By Hamid Waheed

(Catherine Scott-Clark declare India- A State Sponsoring Terrorism)

LINK: http://indologygoa.wordpress.com/2012/04/18/the-meadow-says-india-a-state-sponsoring-terrorism/

Sayed Zabiuddin was arrested Thursday at the New Delhi airport after he was deported from Saudi Arabia, where he was raising funds for a new attack in India, police officials said. . With his capture, police may for the first time have someone in custody who has intimate knowledge about how the attack was organized.  Police suspect that it was Zabiuddin’s voice that was heard in a control room in Pakistan guiding the gunmen in 2008, according to voice intercepts the FBI gave New Delhi authorities to aid their investigation. Pakistan’s interior minister had strong reservations on Indian investigation system which he termed as un professional and non cooperative with Pakistan.

False Indian propaganda and atrocities against its own people and neighbors is not new . Some conscience Indian writers like Arunduta Roy,  officials like former Maharashtra IG police SM Mushrif  along with human rights organizations keep raising their voices whenever they can under coercive environment of Hindu extremist elements. Today Sikhs, Christian, Muslims and Dalits (the untouchable humans) are victim of state policies and inequality in India. Historically, the exclusion of 65 million Dalits from the Indian society has been on religious and cultural grounds. Still due to pre-assigned duties of the caste into which they are born, many Dalits are destined to do sanitation jobs, transport human excreta manually, clear animal carcasses and human remains. Frequently, subjected to humiliation, often the victims of rape and enforced prostitution, controlled in parts of the country by caste militias, the Dalits are virtually slaves and hardly in a position to choose a profession of their own choice. In this case, the United Nations Human Rights Council’s (UNHRC) September 2009 decision to declare discrimination based on the caste system a “human-rights abuse” has stirred up harsh opposition from India. However, the UN’s decision came about despite strong disagreement from the Indian government and its aggressive lobbying to get the council to delete the word “caste” from its draft.

Each passing day discovers new realities about shining India when the truth glitters from the false cover stories . On 18 Feb 2007  at least 68 people mostly Pakistani were killed in a series of explosions and a fire on Pakistan-bound train in the northern Indian state of Haryana, near Panipat, about 80km (50 miles) north of Delhi. Initial investigation blamed  LeT and JeM , even a Pakistani national Azmat Ali was arrested. Later it was found by the investigating  Police that the  right-wing Hindu activists and an Indian army officer Colonel Prohit had a significant role. The confessions of Swami Aseemanand further confirms hindutva radical’s role in terrorism.

In Mecca Masjid Blast on May 18, 2007 ,14 people died and as a natural reaction initially around 80 Muslims were detained for questioning and 25 were arrested. The investigation followed the script till the CBI found evidence that mobile phone-detonated explosives packed in metal tubes were similar to the Ajmer blasts. The bombs are believed to have contained a deadly mix of RDX and TNT, in proportions often used by the Indian army. CBI director Ashwani Kumar told the media that an activist named Sunil Joshi “played a key role in orchestrating the Ajmer blast and a set of mobile SIM cards that had been used in activation of the bomb-triggers in the Mecca Masjid blast was used again in the Ajmer blast”.  National Investigating Agency (NIA) filed a case in a court accusing 11 Hindus and members of the ultra-right-wing Sanathan Sanstha, of masterminding and executing the October 2009 Margao blast. Initial suspicion and interrogation of suspected Muslim men, some believed to be members of “sleeper cells of jehadi groups” turned out to be an allegation.

In Ajmer Sharif  Blast on October 11, 2007 ,3 people died. In 2010, Rajasthan ATS arrests Devendra Gupta, Chandrashekhar and Vishnu Prasad. Initial arrests of Abdul Hafiz Shamim, Khushibur Rahman, Imran Ali linked  to  HuJI, LeT could not be proved.  Again in Malegaon 2ndBlasts in September  2008 in which 7 died   Pragya Singh Thakur, Lt Col Srikant Purohit and Swami Amritanand Dev were found involved. Malegaon 2008  forced the review of  the role of Hindutva groups. The ATS investigation led to Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur, whose motorcycle was used to explode the bomb, and then to 13 others, including Lt Col Prasad Shrikant Purohit, the first-ever serving officer to be charged. During interrogation, he had disclosed to ATS investigators that he had provided the RDX in the Mecca Masjid blasts  but the ATS was reportedly asked not to make it public as the Hyderabad police had detained HuJI suspects.

This shows a glimpse of investigation handling in India however, the larger story can be summarized in what a human right activist and Mumbai advocate Mihir said,”  It is believed that CBI is seeking directions from the  home ministry to see the Ajmer, Mecca Masjid, Malegaon and other blasts in conjunction after there has been no conclusive evidence of the involvement of Islamic groups”. The fault lines are not only visible within civil LEA but the nuclear security and military issues like abduction and later murder of an important Nuclear scientist Loknath Mahalingam in Jun 2009, sixty one trucks carrying  300 tons of explosives going missing in August 2010 and involvement of top Indian officers and politicians in Kargil soldiers housing society scam are few of the burning topics .In the regional context army under General Kiyani sacrifices its own ration to help flood affected countrymen but General VK Singh says the housing scam will not affect the troops morale.  HR violations in Kashmir and refusal of Indian army to implement 25% reduction of forces in Kashmir  announced by their own government reflects the oncoming challenges for Indian secularism , security and its investigation systems. Most recently a court of inquiry has been ordered against an Indian officer — Major General V K Sharma, from Army Supply Corps (MG ASC) of the Northern Command in Siachen. Sources said the Northern Command received several complaints against the officer, mostly from contractors who accused him of demanding favors in return for awarding contracts. However, the duplicity in Indian investigative procedures may not find it easy to punish the culprit who is found cheating  soldiers performing duties under extreme weather conditions of Siachen.

 

The writer is based in Rawalpindi & offered the article to Pakpotpourri2 for publication.

The Statue of Liberty Smiles At Americans

This is a Pakpotpourri Exclusive

By: Hamid Waheed

The American democratic  culture has always been a symbol of justice and protector of human rights. The society moved  from slavery  to freedom and statue of liberty stood as source of strength of upcoming proud American Generation. The democratic system  traditionally rely on the separation of powers and judicial review to protect liberty and impose legal restrictions on government officials including intelligence agencies. But in the post-9/11 period, restraint of government was some how relegated to few who want to take away the  rights and liberty of the society.  The ones who have made American culture a hostage to fear of Terrorism. The effects of this are unfortunately being felt by the entire world in general and south Asia, the zone of War On Terror in particular.  After 9/11,  the human rights were often compromised in their commitments to principles of liberty, equality, dignity, fair process, and the rule of law. The group of few tarnished the American image of value system. With each step of victory in this direction the super power and its partners keep loosing the battle of hearts and minds . A decade later, the most daunting legacy of September 11th is that Americans have  gradually abandoned the notion that morally-based values such as human rights should define their identity and guide their behavior. As the time passes old issues like Abu Ghauraib  are complimented by new which signals an ascending graph of planned  deteriorating human rights situation in society.

On 25 Jun Jimmy Carter American Ex- president wrote that , “THE United States is abandoning its role as the global champion of human rights. Revelations that top officials are targeting people to be assassinated abroad, including American citizens, are only the most recent, disturbing proof of how far our nation’s violation of human rights has extended. This development began after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and has been sanctioned and escalated by bipartisan executive and legislative actions, without dissent from the general public. As a result, our country can no longer speak with moral authority on these critical issues. He suggests that at a time when popular revolutions are sweeping the globe, the United States should be strengthening, not weakening, basic rules of law and principles of justice enumerated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. But instead of making the world safer, America’s violation of international human rights abets our enemies and alienates our friends. This is what Pakistani parliament and its Army Chief Kayani has been saying all along. The CIA and American army’s confused and at times conflicting strategies have mixed good with bad and friends with foes.   ”Today it is estimated as many as 27 million people around the world are victims of modern slavery, what we sometimes call trafficking in persons,” Clinton said at the unveiling of the report at the State Department as the US unveiled its annual report into human trafficking in mid of Jun.”Those victims of modern slavery are women and men, girls and boys, and their stories remind us of the kind of inhumane treatment we are capable of as human beings,” said Clinton. On India, the report states that the country is a source, destination, and transit country for men, women, and children subjected to forced labour and sex trafficking.

A decade after 9/11 leaves unbelievable stories of American heros like Dr Shakil Afridi, who worked with the C.I.A. to collect DNA samples of Osama under the guise of a bogus vaccination. He gave fake vaccination against Polio, by actually taking DNA samples in the hope of locating Bin Laden.  To get to this old dysfunctional Osama the CIA never realized the cost of life of about 200,000 children in FATA area of Pakistan who are now at risk of Polio to live throughout their life as handicapped individuals. Such silent killers remind of sufferings of generations born in Japan in 1940 and 50s. The  drone strikes have been a sore point with the public and Pakistani politicians, who describe them as violations of sovereignty that produce unacceptable civilian casualties but the Americans term this the most effective tool to get Al-Quida leadership hiding in remote areas of Pak- Afghan border. The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Dr Navi Pillay said in a press conference in Islamabad that ”Drone attacks do raise serious questions about compliance with international law,” Dr Pillay told. ”Ensuring accountability for any failure to comply with international law is also difficult when drone attacks are conducted outside the military chain of command and beyond” .

It surprises the community when a credible international news paper in month of Jun reports that A former Indian army officer  Avtar Singh lived in the U.S.A illegally for at least five years before he killed his wife, two children this month. Mr Singh had been arrested by U.S. investigators for unlawful presence in July 2007 but they decided not to deport him but to use him. Police also discovered that he was being sought in India on a murder charge In Kashmir, where more than 68,000 people, mostly civilian, have been killed  under a controversial state Law. The American did jail Ghulam Nabi Fai who was just a lobbiest for freedom struggle in Kashmir  but  kept nurturing Avtar Singh a killer a human right abuser. The space for invoking human rights on moral grounds alone has virtually disappeared. The War Against Terror continues. It waxes and wanes. Innocents die. Livelihood   is lost. Bin Laden is found and killed  but the Americans themselves and world community keeps  loosing freedom and human values. Who will stop this degrading trend  still remains unanswered. The World views Americans as unjust and coercive nation as it remains hijacked by few who certainly do not represent the nation which draws inspiration from STATUE OF LIBERTY..

The writer is based in Rawalpindi & offered this article to Pakpotpourri2

Pak-US Leadership Challenges

A Pakpotpourri Exclusive

Hamid Waheed

Huge Challenges at times dwarf the leadership when they fail to protect the rights of its people who select them to lead in this democratic world. At such time the leadership of great powers are at greater risk as they do not only bear responsibility of their Nation but also  of the region and the globe. The Nations in situation of crisis sometimes act in the most irregular way and it becomes difficult to understand difference between wrong and right , a friend and a foe. Unfortunately the confusion between American state department, Pentagon and CIA  has made the world and Americans a hostage . American Nation known for its uprightness, fairness and values have been put against the wall with deep shadow of fear to decide between death due to terror or give up social liberty and human values. Not realizing that taking values and liberty away from a society means its death leaving behind only the name to be buried in history. Under such a state each wrong step invites more confusion leading to death of culture. Culture is a pattern of shared basic assumptions that a Nation  learns as it adopts a way of life for external adaptation and internal integration which  is passed on to new generation as the correct way you perceive, think, and feel. The changes in this pattern of life are  now being felt by the entire world as America stands as the sole superpower of the world. The tremors are being felt by others and more so by its collation partners like Pakistan who have suffered all along in War On Terror. It seems that faulty lessons from Iraq are being carried forward instead of being analysed and corrected. Unlawful HR violations at prisons and innocent killings in drone attacks apart, there is a long list of doings and sayings which may be comical for some but for others this joke is meaning end to their livelihood and destruction.

Dr Shakil Afridi, who worked with the C.I.A. to collect DNA samples of Osama under the guise of a bogus vaccination  was sentenced  to 33 years in prison under Pakistan’s tribal justice system. He gave fake vaccination  against Polio, by  actually taking   DNA samples in the hope of locating Bin Laden. The American Secy of State said,”The United States does not believe there is any basis for holding Dr. Afridi.  His help, after all, was instrumental in taking down one of the world’s most notorious murders”. To get to this old dysfunctional Osama the CIA never realized the cost of life of about 200,000 children in FATA area of Pakistan who are now at risk of Polio to live throughout their life as handicapped individuals. Almost the same what happened in Heroshima, Japan .

On other side Drone strikes have been a sore point with the public and Pakistani politicians, who describe them as violations of sovereignty that produce unacceptable civilian casualties wgere as the Americans term this the most effective tool to get Al – Quida leadership hiding in remote areas of Pak- Afghan border. The New America Foundation policy institute says that of 283 reported strikes from 2004 to Nov 16, 2011, between 1,717 and 2,680 people were killed. Between 293 and 471 were thought to be civilians — approximately 17 percent of those killed. BARACK Obama, according to Foreign Policy magazine ”has become George W. Bush on steroids”. Armed with a ”kill list”, the Nobel peace laureate now hosts ”Tuesday terror” meetings at the White House to discuss targets of drone attacks in Pakistan and at least five other countries.

THE United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights has advised Pakistan to seek an official UN investigation into whether US drone strikes there are legal.  Navi Pillay told Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani he should invite the UN’s special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions to visit the country to examine the legality of missile attacks by remote-controlled aircraft in areas near the Afghan border.”Drone attacks do raise serious questions about compliance with international law,” Dr Pillay  told a press conference in Islamabad. ”Ensuring accountability for any failure to comply with international law is also difficult when drone attacks are conducted outside the military chain of command and beyond … transparent mechanisms of civilian or military control.’ The deliberate targeting of rescuers and mourners by CIA drones was first exposed by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism in February 2012, in a major joint investigation with the Sunday Times. On more than a dozen occasions between 2009 and June 2011, the CIA attacked rescuers as they tried to retrieve the dead and injured. Although Taliban members were killed on almost every occasion, so too were civilians – many of whom the Bureau’s field investigators were able to name. The investigation also reported that on at least three occasions the CIA had struck funeral-goers.

Obama in his address to UN did reflect   his desire for peace in the world and American interest in humanity. Despite such realizations US policy  seem more of a mind boggler than Carrot and stick or DO More type now. The strange statements now coming from Panetta like US losing patience with Pakistan over insurgent bases and talking of war in Pakistan during his visit to India has further widened the wedge between the two countries, which in no way will lead to peace in this part of the world. Pakistan has a Key place to every solution may it be Afghan exit, or future economic route to central Asia. Pakistan and America have to create a solution even if does not exist on principles of accommodation on basis on respect for National interests.  It is not possible to pressurize a country of huge population like Pakistan and take unilateral decisions through coercion as they would prove temporary. The concept of America fighting thousands of miles away from its borders and considering techniques for tactical victory to fulfill their domestic requirement  is understandable but main decisions have to come  keeping America and its people in mind . The present volley of accusations and raising fingers at Pakistan by Obama Administration is nothing but panic when they sink in Afghanistan. The Nations demand that their leadership must protect and safe guard their values , respect and honor not by bullet but winning hearts and minds for a durable peace. After death of Osama the people must demand revival of their values which they inherited for their coming generations.

The writer is based in Islamabad & contributed this article to the Forum.

Afghan quagmire – an opportunity for Pakistan

This is a Pakpotpourri Exclusive.The writer contributed the article to Pakpotpourri2.

By: Iqbal F Quadir

Vice Admiral (Retd) & Former Ambassador

The situation in and around Afghanistan; shorn of all political, diplomatic and security verbiage that surrounds all bits of information put out daily in the press and on the media; could  candidly and briefly be described as firstly, Pakistan had been in a nut-cracker situation with its head in the vise ever since March 2001 when USA signed an agreement with the Afghan Northern Alliance (NA), Russia, India and Uzbekistan to equip NA Forces with Russian equipment and have them trained by the Indians in Uzbekistan to fight against the Afghan Taliban then fully backed by Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. Secondly, Pakistan now finds itself in the situation of a small ant inside the trunk of an elephant. A situation of recent creation after Salala and more by default of NATO / ISAF / USA than by design of Pakistan.

The worst of this situation had been that so far neither the elephant knew how to let go of the nut-cracker even if it wanted to do that, nor, did the Pakistani ant know which way to get out of the elephant’s trunk; a highly volatile situation that could be dangerous not only for Pakistan and USA / INSAF but for the neighboring countries too.

In these unpredictable and potentially explosive circumstances, compounded further by US-Iran estrangement, it was necessary to ensure that the ant’s little steps inside the trunk do not set up vibrations, which could excite the elephant into frenzy, be that of rage or of uncontrolled hilarity – both could be violent and destructive.

USA and Pakistan were equally to blame for the present situation. The former for the blind enforcement of decisions Washington perceived were in her national though oft changing aims and interests in the region. The latter, Pakistan, for blindly following US dictates without regard to their long term adverse affect on Pakistan’s own interests in the region, on the country and the populace. Pakistan was to be blamed again for not paying heed to how US policies were developing in Afghanistan and with India that in the longer run would clash with Pakistan’s own interests in Afghanistan and the region; even though like some others this scribe too had written three articles in a local paper between 2007 and 2009 specifically pointing out the same.

Pakistan should have acted at that time diplomatically and politically to save the situation from reaching the present pass we were now in.

Consequently the quagmire was now complete, which had to be disentangled but carefully, wisely, transparently and with patience on both sides. Nevertheless two things had to be realized. That it was a quagmire only and not a dispute and should be dealt with as such. And that there were only two parties, USA and Pakistan, which could resolve the dilemma being faced. More than two would become a crowd and must be avoided. Furthermore the process unlike the secret US-Afghan Taliban negotiations, which created more problems than they resolved, though USA achieved its strategic objective of possibly a permanent stay in Afghanistan, must remain transparent enough for all our neighbors.

With such an understanding between the two and goodwill plus regard on both sides there was no reason an equitable solution could not be found. In fact for peace in the region there was practically no other solution to the quagmire, which itself could not be left to fest further.

The recent statements of certain senior US politicians and by the new Pakistani Ambassador to Washington provide a reasonable base to build up on. In addition Pakistan and USA must quickly arrange exchange visits by selected parliamentarians and intellectuals, properly briefed, to recreate the needed confidence and understanding between the two governments and the two nations.

Here it should not be overlooked that the only viable route of withdrawal for US /NATO/ ISAF Forces from Afghanistan other than Pakistan was through Iran and history tells us that to achieve their objectives the followers of pragmatism change foes to friends overnight or vice versa. The softer approach adopted by IAEA and the 5 + 1 group at the recent Baghdad conference on Iran’s nuclear program if anything was a pointer towards what must have already transpired under the table .

However, Pakistan finally had to find a win-win situation not only with USA but with all its neighbors including USA as one across the sea. And while mending fences with that country, Pakistan must not repeat its perennial mistake of the last half century plus – of forgetting all our other neighbors.

It has been an extra long period of self-inflicted international isolation that must be avoided in the future and God in His infinite mercy has provided Pakistan that opportunity. Let us show wisdom and courage to utilize it for betterment of Pakistan, its people and the world.

Pakistan’s geographical location made it a natural communications cum trade hub not only for its neighbors but the whole world through the land, sea and air routes that either pass through its territory and the air space above it or which needed to be developed to achieve the economic win-win situation that the country urgently needs.

A policy the Quaid described as, “Friendship towards all and enmity towards none.”

The country could earn billions of dollars in this manner and simultaneously create thousands of jobs in service industries. In half a decade Pakistan could annually earn more foreign exchange than all the aid put together. But to achieve this objective neutrality in world affairs was not only important but a must. Only and only then the economic development of the country and the betterment of Pakistani people would become possible.

The people have already shown they want to be free of the chains that bind them domestically and also the constraints that our foreign policy has inflicted on the country during the past half century plus. They were willing to undergo hardships and to give sacrifices that might be forced on the country for exercising that necessary freedom. But did our ruling elite have the mettle and the will to to convert this national ethos into reality or would they again let this God given opportunity be lost? At the moment our future rests on that.

 

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