Monthly Archives: August 2013

In Rush to Strike Syria, U.S. Tried to Derail U.N. Probe Analysis by Gareth Porter

This is a cross post.

Kerry1WASHINGTON, Aug 27 2013 (IPS) – After initially insisting that Syria give United Nations investigators unimpeded access to the site of an alleged nerve gas attack, the administration of President Barack Obama reversed its position on Sunday and tried unsuccessfully to get the U.N. to call off its investigation.

The administration’s reversal, which came within hours of the deal reached between Syria and the U.N., was reported by the Wall Street Journal Monday and effectively confirmed by a State Department spokesperson later that day.

In his press appearance Monday, Secretary of State John Kerry, who intervened with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon to call off the investigation, dismissed the U.N. investigation as coming too late to obtain valid evidence on the attack that Syrian opposition sources claimed killed as many 1,300 people.

The sudden reversal and overt hostility toward the U.N. investigation, which coincides with indications that the administration is planning a major military strike against Syria in the coming days, suggests that the administration sees the U.N. as hindering its plans for an attack.

Kerry asserted Monday that he had warned Syrian Foreign Minister Moallem last Thursday that Syria had to give the U.N. team immediate access to the site and stop the shelling there, which he said was “systematically destroying evidence”. He called the Syria-U.N. deal to allow investigators unrestricted access “too late to be credible”.

After the deal was announced on Sunday, however, Kerry pushed Ban in a phone call to call off the investigation completely.

The Wall Street Journal reported the pressure on Ban without mentioning Kerry by name. It said unnamed “U.S. officials” had told the secretary-general that it was “no longer safe for the inspectors to remain in Syria and that their mission was pointless.”

But Ban, who has generally been regarded as a pliable instrument of U.S. policy, refused to withdraw the U.N. team and instead “stood firm on principle”, the Journal reported. He was said to have ordered the U.N. inspectors to “continue their work”.

The Journal said “U.S. officials” also told the secretary-general that the United States “didn’t think the inspectors would be able to collect viable evidence due to the passage of time and damage from subsequent shelling.”

The State Department spokesperson, Marie Harf, confirmed to reporters that Kerry had spoken with Ban over the weekend. She also confirmed the gist of the U.S. position on the investigation. “We believe that it’s been too long and there’s been too much destruction of the area for the investigation to be credible,” she said.

That claim echoed a statement by an unnamed “senior official” to the Washington Post Sunday that the evidence had been “significantly corrupted” by the regime’s shelling of the area.

“[W]e don’t at this point have confidence that the U.N. can conduct a credible inquiry into what happened,” said Harf, “We are concerned that the Syrian regime will use this as a delay tactic to continue shelling and destroying evidence in the area.”

Harf did not explain, however, how the Syrian agreement to a ceasefire and unimpeded access to the area of the alleged chemical weapons attack could represent a continuation in “shelling and destroying evidence”.

Despite the U.S. effort to portray the Syrian government policy as one of “delay”, the formal request from the United Nations for access to the site did not go to the Syrian government until Angela Kane, U.N. High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, arrived in Damascus on Saturday, as Ban’s spokesman, Farhan Haq, conceded in a briefing in New York Tuesday.

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem said in a press conference Tuesday that Syria had not been asked by the United Nations for access to the East Ghouta area until Kane presented it on Saturday. Syria agreed to provide access and to a ceasefire the following day.

Haq sharply disagreed with the argument made by Kerry and the State Department that it was too late to obtain evidence of the nature of the Aug. 21 incident.

“Sarin can be detected for up to months after its use,” he said.

Specialists on chemical weapons also suggested in interviews with IPS that the U.N. investigating team, under a highly regarded Swedish specialist Ake Sellstom and including several experts borrowed from the Organisation for the Prevention of Chemical Weapons, should be able to either confirm or disprove the charge of an attack with nerve or another chemical weapon within a matter of days.

Ralph Trapp, a consultant on proliferation of chemical and biological weapons, said he was “reasonably confident” that the U.N. team could clarify what had happened.

“They can definitely answer the question [of] whether there was a chemical attack, and they can tell which chemical was used,” he said, by collecting samples from blood, urine and hair of victims. There was even “some chance” of finding chemical residue from ammunition pieces or craters where they landed.

Trapp said it would take “several days” to complete an analysis.

Steve Johnson, who runs a programme in chemical, biological and radiological weapons forensics at Cranfield University in the United Kingdom, said that by the end of the week the U.N. might be able to answer whether “people died of a nerve agent.”

Johnson said the team, if pushed, could produce “some kind of view” on that issue within 24 to 48 hours.

Dan Kastesza, a 20-year veteran of the U.S. Army Chemical Corps and a former adviser to the White House on chemical and biological weapons proliferation, told IPS the team will not be looking for traces of the nerve gas sarin in blood samples but rather chemicals produced when sarin degrades.

But Kastesza said that once samples arrive at laboratories, specialists could make a determination “in a day or two” about whether a nerve agent or other chemical weapons had been used.

The real reason for the Obama administration’s hostility toward the U.N. investigation appears to be the fear that the Syrian government’s decision to allow the team access to the area indicates that it knows that U.N. investigators will not find evidence of a nerve gas attack.

The administration’s effort to discredit the investigation recalls the George W. Bush administration’s rejection of the position of U.N. inspectors in 2002 and 2003 after they found no evidence of any weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and the administration’s refusal to give inspectors more time to fully rule out the existence of an active Iraqi WMD programme.

In both cases, the administration had made up its mind to go to war and wanted no information that could contradict that policy to arise.


Reflections on the ‘Idiot Box’

Yasmeen Aftab Ali

Idiot BoxThe five-hour drama enacted in Islamabad at the central Jinnah Avenue neighbourhood à la Sultan Rahi style and the subsequent television coverage once again exposed the core issue of the private television channels. First, the lack of a cogent, workable editorial policy devised by each channel, keeping in mind the Pemra Ordinance and Code of Conduct for media: broadcasters or cable TV operators. Second, it exposed lack of implementation of existing Pemra laws and further, lack of consequences when it is violated. In this particular case, when one Mohammad Sikander armed with sophisticated weapons and accompanied by his wife and two small children decided to place demands on the government by a show of violence.
That it was an act of terrorism; there is no doubt. A man brandishing hi-tech weapons, firing in the air, placing demands on the government and in a position to inflict physical harm upon those around him cannot be taken as a benign individual by any standards, at that point in time, without any inquiry having been taken place about his background. According to a BBC report (published August 16, 2013), many believe that the non-stop television coverage made the police reluctant to step in sooner and take action against the gunman. Coverage of such antics non-stop can be a source of encouragement for other aspirants.
This kind of coverage is in clear violation of Clause (3) of Section (8) of the 2007 Pemra Ordinance (Amendment) that states: “Notwithstanding anything contained in this ordinance, the live coverage of incidents of violence and conflict shall not be broadcast.”
Many more incidents stand witness to our obsessive event coverage. Suicide bombings and its gruesome coverage is one. Showing bits of bodies, ensuing destruction, has made the public immune to such tragedies. For most now, it is just ‘another suicide killing’. Manawan Police Academy attack coverage sticks out like a sore thumb. Gunmen had stormed at a police academy in October 2009. The security personnel trying to gain access to the building, as a rescue operation were underway – all was being shown and widely commented upon by the TV reporters on ground. I am sure the same was being viewed by the terrorists inside too, making it easier for them to decide upon their counter plan. This is just one example out of so many.
The Pemra Ordinance (Amendment) 2007 Clause 2(j)states: “Not broadcast video footage of suicide bombers, terrorists, bodies of victims of terrorism, statements and pronouncements of militants and extremist elements and any other acts, which may, in any way, promote, aid or abet terrorist activities or terrorism.”
There is now consensus that exposure to media violence is linked to actual violent behaviour – a link found by many scholars to be on par with the correlation of exposure to second-hand smoke and the risk of lung cancer (published in The New York Times, August 23, 2013). Criticising is not the purpose. An effort to channelise our media into a more responsible and a more mature direction is. Loopholes need to be plugged. The suggestions that Pemra may like to look into are:
i     Call for comprehensive editorial policies by each media house for submission and approval by Pemra, and ensure these are displayed on channel websites. (The wheel does not have to be recreated – we need to look at the policy, for example, of BBC and others.) This policy must trickledown to the job description of every member of the team. The media policies must take into consideration the Pemra Ordinance 2002 and Amendment 2007.
i     If a media person goes against the guidelines and its channel’s editorial policy; he or she must be banned from joining another media channel in any capacity for minimum three years (that is what we do with our cricketers).
i    There must be an imposition of a hefty fine on the channel itself responsible for gross misconduct in the following of the editorial policy by its employee and in case of an extremely serious nature of violation, a ban on the channel itself for a given time period. The channel will ultimately have to be responsible for any gross contraventions.
i    Guidelines should be given for appointing anchorpersons to avoid unsuitable persons as opinion makers. In case of a ‘fresh entrant’ to the field, a training course must be given to the new appointee.
i    Guidelines for training course of all staff must be given to the electronic media, and checks and balances must be in place to ensure it is duly being carried out. Or should the training institute be under the auspices of Pemra providing training in different fields, i.e. reporting, photography, live coverage, anachronism, etc.
i    ‘Experts’ of different fields must be invited on subject programmes as guests to ensure the emergence of a balanced and well informed public opinion, instead of allowing non-experts who usually do so. Guidelines of experts in a field as opposed to ‘non-experts’ exist internationally and are well defined. Unfortunately, not followed in Pakistan to a large degree and only leads to creation of confusion and formation of an uneducated opinion. An expert in one field may not be an expert in other subjects.
i    It should be made mandatory for the channels to have a legal adviser to whom all materials of sensitive nature must be first cleared with as well as checking it against the channel’s editorial policy, as done by BBC.
i    Content analysis is a very serious duty of Pemra. What is being aired, not only in the news arena, but also in the entertainment and religious field. The impact of psychological warfare cannot be, must not be overlooked. Overdose of Bollywood in entertainment channels, in news needs checking.
These suggestions put on board do not mean to state that private channels have not contributed positively towards bringing home issues that otherwise would never have been brought home, exposed scams we may never have known about and called the proverbial spade a spade. They have on many occasions done so. However, the good, the cultural, the beautiful has all been relegated to the backburner. All that is projected is the bad, the ugly and the destructive. Talk shows talking of doomsday scenario seem to have replaced entertainment and any good thing related to Pakistan.
What we need here is; to strike a balance!

The writer is a lawyer, academic and political analyst. She has authored a book titled A Comparative Analysis of Media & Media Laws in Pakistan.

Cross post from The Nation:

Line out of control?


I do not want to talk about the statement of the Indian Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde in The Washington Post on January 20, 2013, accusing the Hindu nationalists of promoting terrorism and blaming it on Muslims. I also do not want to talk about the statement of Raj Thackeray, stating that the killing of Indian soldiers at the Line of Control (LoC) was carried out by the Indian government itself to divert the attention of the people from the multiple internal crises faced by the Indian nation and reported on several Indian TV news channels on January 16, 2013.
What I want to talk about is what possible advantages either Pakistan or India may reap, in originating the crossfire at this point of time and the negative fallout of the action. I guess, we need a reality check! ASAP!
Pakistan is besieged by problems. Too many. It has terrorist threat. Sectarian violence has affected the entire country to varying degrees. Some of the worst acts of barbarism have been witnessed in the name of sectarianism. It has spared no one. Neither the old, women nor children. The global jihad has adjusted the sectarian hatred within its fold. Their local objectives are usually supported so long the overall objective does not suffer. Military means alone cannot be the only solution to eliminate terrorism. Causes of terrorism can be social, political, and economic. These issues must be addressed along with the military means. In an effort to handle the situation going rapidly out of control, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan envisages the establishment of a joint intelligence secretariat and a counter-terrorism rapid deployment force. He stated that it will be established within six months with the aim to make swift decisions on actionable intelligence. The force is proposed to have an initial strength of 500 personnel, which will be subsequently raised to 2,000.
Good intentions notwithstanding but how will this work on-ground? Who is going to head the force will be a crucial factor in the success or failure of the venture. Many other questions also come to mind. Will the force be part of the army? An off shoot of police? Or apart of the police force? Like a pie within a pie? Independent? Will they be based in one province? Segregated province-wise? (If the induction is on political grounds, we might as well forget about it). If concentrated in one area how do they counter terrorists nationwide? (Reminds of my favourite childhood cartoon: the post-spinach-intake Popeye the Sailor Man). Will a force of 2,000 be enough? What kind of training are we talking about? How much time will that take? Who will conduct the training?
With a proposed withdrawal of US combat forces in 2014, Pakistan is deeply engaged at the western border. Facing Pakistan is also an array of other in-house serious issues. Energy crisis being one. Increasing corruption being the other. I do not have the space here to talk about the others. In short, Pakistan is so overstretched; one does not possibly see any advantage accruing to Pakistan by engaging on the eastern border too, when it needs to focus all attention and resources inwards to put its house in order. Unless, one accepts the point of view of J.P. Singh. In a report by Reuters, Singh, the police chief for northern border operations, stated: “(Pakistan’s) agents and their protégés, the militants, are getting disengaged from the Afghan border and they have nowhere else to keep them and engage them, other than to push them to Kashmir. Their presence inside Pakistan is dangerous for the internal security of Pakistan.” This suggestion is flimsy at best.
Skirmishes at Pakistan’s eastern border have happened before. Things have been heating up since 2013 set in at the LoC. However, the blow up by the Indian media this once was unprecedented. It was not just their media, but also their politicians and others who came out swinging with very strong anti-Pakistan statements.
India faces its sixteenth general elections of Lok Sabha on May 31, 2014.The hype created maybe an election drumbeat. Congress may be bagging appreciation in opening up dialogue with Pakistan. Was this dialogue hurting the Congress opposition in India, is a question being raised at different forums. “Coming on the heels of the rape and death of a medical student, the event was a God-Sent opportunity to put the Congress government on the back foot,” states a newspaper. If this suggestion has any authenticity, it reflects sadly on Indian election approach bankruptcy. After 66 years, surely they can come up with something better than Pakistan bashing?
Another reason suggested is to keep the pressure on Pakistan, knowing full well that if Pakistan forces divert their attentions to the eastern border, they will be spreading themselves thin. At the core of the issue lies the US combat force pullback from Afghanistan, vying for greater influence India and Pakistan will lock horns over Afghanistan. It is here that Pakistan government’s mature approach will be needed. Not to fall into the trap laid for Pakistan and focus where they need to focus on.
What, nonetheless, this new disturbance has brought in focus rather sharply, is that the cosmetic efforts notwithstanding, the issue of Kashmir and water-war simmers just under the surface, waiting to be blown up into our faces at any given opportunity and excuse.
A more reasonable and logical approach from the Indians would have been to agree upon the setting up of a commission by the United Nations or another such international organisation to inquire into who originated the violation and accept with grace the result of the said commission. Unfortunately, this has not happened. The attitude has gone from belligerent to being more belligerent. From India’s President telling Pakistan that its hand of friendship should “not be taken for granted,” to that of the Indian Defence Minister, A.K. Antony, stating that India is employing a wait and see policy with Pakistan and that talks of normalising relations with Pakistan were premature. To give the man credit; Mr Antony’s statement came only after the opposition angrily accused the minister of deliberately choosing not to blame the Pakistani army for the attack, amid attempts to revive peace talks with Pakistan. This delayed response itself speaks volumes for an effort at balance among saner voices in India.
India’s overall belligerency is in sharp contrast to the very positive and friendly posture of Sharif’s government ever since it came to power. Even in face of Indian hysteria, he advised that Pakistan and India must take “effective steps” to restore normalcy on the LoC. A restrained attitude towards the issue was also displayed by the local media. What Indian media and Indian politicians are doing most unfortunately, is putting at stake the chance of getting on with improving relations with the fresh incoming government of Nawaz Sharif. This is neither mature nor advisable. A reality check is needed-or do we accept the advice a friend, Anthony Permal, gives in a tweet: “The ‘LoC’ needs to be renamed ‘LooC’: Line out of Control.”

The writer is a lawyer, academic and political analyst. She has authored a book titled A Comparative Analysis of Media & Media Laws in Pakistan.Twitter: @yasmeen_9

This is a cross post from :The Nation:

Nimroz; Abode of the Balluchi

By: Naveed Tajammal

New1Sir Oliver Beauchamp was designated on 19 June 1877 as the First Chief Commissioner of yet another new geographic term known as the ‘Balochistan Agency’, thrust upon us by the Forward policy makers of the British Foreign Office.

Before this period, no such geographic term identifying this region as such existed, and Shalkot, an old Caravan port of our former Multan province in the last Mughal Administrative set-up, which was on the main highway route from Bakkhar on the Indus, via Bolan, Pisheen, Panjwa to Herat or lower to Zahidan etc., was renamed ‘Quetta’ and it became the new head-quarter of the Great Game being played by the British.

If one should study the documents compiled by Mr. C.U. Atchison, Under-Secretary to the GOI in the Foreign Department, the series are titled; ‘Treaties, Engagements and Sunnuds, relating to British India and its neighbouring Countries’, and they cover the period from the early 18th Century AD onward. Not a single reference relating to the Balochis as such exists, till Robert Sandeman, as the instrument of the state, manipulated the creation of this entity, and awarded their self- created leaders the titles of Nawabs. This, however, came about much later, in 1890 AD.

The Chronicles of Ria Bahadaur Hittu Ram, Extra Asstt. Chief Commissioner, published in 1907,further clarify the picture, on page 293,details of a meeting held on 02 January 1876,between Captain Robert Sandeman and Mir Khudadad Barrohi, the then Khan of Kalat. The Khan was being pestered by Sandeman to make a member of Mari tribe into a Tomandar. The Khan reminded the people present that it was in the Tent of Shahnawaz Khan [who too later subsequently became the Khan of Kalat] that Mir Mehrab ll, the then Khan of Kalat [1831-1839] had awarded for the first time Tomandari to a Mari, which was subsequently revoked on account of activities of his Tribe, which he could not handle properly. This was told in the presence of the then head Maqadam, one Karam Khan and Nihal Khan Mari, who accompanied Captain Robert Sandeman. This shows that prior to this period, the Mari did not amount to much in the matters, that they be awarded Tomandari within the Administrative set up of the Khanate.

After Naseer l had tendered his vassalage to Ahmed Khan Abdali, the new Badshah of Qandhar, kept sending him bands of nomad Kuchi wanderers within his new state from its south western and western borders, the old region of Nimroz.

This old geographic tract of land, Nimroz, is etched in the old mythology of Iran, and references about this region exist even before the Epic Shah Nama-e-Firdausi was penned by Abul Qasim Firdausi, various Arab, Persian and Turkish geographers who wrote their books mention it in their books, namely, Al-Balaziri [883], ibn Khurdad-bih [888]al-Hassan Siraf [916]al-Masudi [943] al-Istakhari [951] who was from the adjoining region with Nimroz, wrote his book ‘Kitab ul Maslik wa Mamalik’,whose works give minor details of the region. This list of authors continues till the times of Maulana Usman, author of Tabakat i Nasiri 1260 AD, who spent 7 months in the court of Zaranj/Zahidan the capital of Nimroz. This was after the invasion of Mongols, He mentions of a Gumbaz e Balluchi in ruins on the Eastern side of Zahidan, zaranj, whereas H.G. Raverty quoting from Maslik va Mamalik of al-Istakhari in Asiatic journal Bengal issue of 1885 discussing the Maliks of Nimroz and Sijistan mentions of Bal-yus an area assigned to Balochi, next to Gumbaz e Balochi.

But first reverting to Nimroz in a very brief historic perspective, Though Abu Jaffar Al-Tabri [d.923] in his famed book,’Tarikh al-Rasul Va al-Muluk’ likewise gives details of various dynasties which occur in the Iranian history, as does later work done by Firdausi, which is solely dedicated to Iranian History, The Chronology of East as we see clashes with that of later written by Edward Gibbon in 18th Century.

The First Iranian Dynasty was Peshdadi, followed by Kiani, Hakamanish and lastly Sassani. The Shah Nama of Firdausi has over 50 percent of its work dedicated to Kiani dynasty which starts with Kai Kubad who laid the foundations of Balkh city. He was 16th in descent from the 10th Monarch of Peshdadi ,”Manu-Chihr”.The Turks under their legendary leader Afrasiyab had already defeated and ended the Peshdadi empire with Manu-Chihr. The next 15 generations is a break in the Iranian dynastic rule, with the Turks ruling supreme, as is evident, from the Chronology.

West starts the chronology from Hakamanish dynasty, which is the third in line, and they call it, ‘Achaemenian’, as the names of kings re-occur time and again the confusion exists in west.

The famed pahlawan [General] of Iranian epic is Rustam, whose Fiefdom was Nimroz, as one can see repeated attacks by subsequent Turkish conquerors from across the oxus [jihun] were focused on Nimroz, each destroyed what re-emerged later in Nimroz after the passage of time. The resilience of Nimrozi people under their old lords cannot help but be admired, nor the persistence of the Turk.

The Eastern-most region of the Iranian empire was called Khurassan and so this tract varies from time to time, in a semi-circle from east of Sea of Khazars [Caspian Sea] till adjoining the Sindh basin regions, to its East.

In the Sassani era, the capital was Tashfa’oon’[Ctesiphon],Khurassan was divided in the following regions; on the north was Balkh; to its south west Ghour; to its south east Badakhshan; below was Zabulistan ,which to its East’ had Roh’ the mountain ridges[durand line],and on the west of Zabulistan across Helmand was Nimroz [siestan part of it].Farah, isfahar [later sabzwar] down to Zaranj [kirman].

The composition of Balluchi, etymology being Bal, the tract of land, Lu, the people and Chi’ in Turkish means ‘of the’, meaning thereby, the people of Bal. Since ages  an ethnic mix created these Wandering Nomads [Kuchi],so a collection of broken men, families ostracized by main clans/tribes, whom stress of circumstances had made them move out to survive, banded in these nomad groups; Kurds, Lurs, Turks, Jats, Mongols and Tajiks, all joined under this generic term. Their main role was to raid caravans which had small protection parties, to plunder small hamlets, way lay riders, on the great high way, on whose edges they lived, most of the newer lot, who joined these groups, depending upon their daring acts and booty, which they had looted, got them admission into the group, which was sealed by a marriage. Mohammad Ibrahim, the author of the history of Seljuks of Kirman, written in 17th century, published by Leyden.1886,relying on the chronicles of Afzal Keirmani, who wrote in late 12th century during the over-lordship of Seljuki Malik Dinar, the Ghuzz chief who held the province of Nimroz stationed at Kirman, mentions that in the rule of Malik Kaward, the Seljuki chief of the same region i.e. Nimroz, in 1045 AD, attacked these people than called as ‘Qufas’,when they were all assembled at a wedding in Bar’jan.

In all, a whole scale massacre took place and none survived. After this, in the regions of lower Gramsir/lower Kirman etc. the upper lot was pushed downward after the irruption of Mongols in these regions and the floating/wandering population of these people took refuge in the lower Kirman regions, like Lashar, Magas, Sib, Soran, Bug, Dombak, which were names of seasonal rivers, streams, tracts of land, defiles, through which passed caravans or other related halting/water spots/Seria -Khanna’s [inns/travens].As they moved much later eastward once again pressed by circumstances of their age old habits of waylaying, they had lost their old identity, and so the old Naibate [revenue circle] they had last lived in, remained as an identity. The allusion to Syria/Turkish warriors contained in their Ballads is a reflection of their by now old Dim past. The Arab Kharjities in very large numbers had been transported in the wilderness of these regions, the bulk died and the hardy survived. That was around 720 AD. Ghuzz tribal lot too took refuge amongst them, as the records testify on being caught; they had tried to invoke old tribal sacrifices, to the Seljuki authorities.

The family of Kiani Maliks of Zaranj [Nimroz] held it mostly throughout recorded known history however it was Zaranj which was also capital of Safarid dynasty [861-1002 AD] and splendour of the city and its magnificent opulence are likewise well recorded, though, later Zahidan, emerges but Kiani Maliks kept their hold upon Balochi   and region under their wings. For awkward assignments, Balochi   were also used frequently by Mulahidah, the followers of Hassan i Sabbah, known in Europe as Assassins. Within Nimroz existed to its west a region called Kuhistan and Kainat; in this region, there existed seven very strong forts of Mulahidah. The head of this region was appointed from Almut in the west, the head quarter of the Organization. The reason why this region was especially maintained, though cut off from the main circle, was firstly because Hassan i Sabah, as the legend of the region said, had belonged to this tract and a ruined fort pointed as Mir-Ismailee was the birth place of Hassan i Sabah. Secondly, recruits were easy to come by, to be trained and sent west, for assignments.

At the time of the Mughal invasion, Mulahidah held the following forts; Sari Takhot, Takht, Sorwarsher, Farmandih, Mominabad, Karah, Tun and Tabas.

Amir Timur Barlas, the later world conqueror, had also laid the whole region waste. He destroyed all dams, and razed the cities to the ground. It was here in his earlier frays that he was hit by an arrow fired by a Malik Mamakuta, who once captured much later paid for his earlier action upon Timur for having lamed him for life. Mamakuta was punished by being struck with as many arrows as his body could take.

Longworth Dames author of popular poetry of balluchi’s Vol .l 1907 is very clear on authenticity of ballads sung by the bards, Dames states that, there is No independent historical evidence regarding the alleged 30 years of War between Rinds and Lashari’s, the other actors likewise depicted in their Ballads are nowhere found in written history beside Chakar Rind.

Reverting to Chakar Rind under the rule of Sher Shah Suri, his governor of Lahore and Multan province was Haibat Khan Niazi, it was under him that Chakar lived and died and is buried at Satgaran near Sahiwal district.

The composition of the Balluchi is very heterogeneous, as was pointed out earlier in the article, here in our regions we find again admission open for all in the 19th century, and the share of the booty looted depended much on the weapon and transport of the new inductee followed by his daring actions. Here in the Mari tribal set up, as seen is a mix, of Jats [khetrans], Shirani is now sub-clan of Loharani who at one time were Pushtun from Zhob, the Baddani, a section of Ghazani clan were Brahavi from Niabate of Khurassan, Mazarani were old khetrans, Zhing, Mehkani are old mendicants from Zarkun tribe. And the same is seen in the Bugti tribe as well. We find that Raheja is a sub-clan of Magasi which falls under the sama generic term assigned to old Sindhi tribe and Raheja by itself is a clan within the tribe of Sama. Raheja is also a sept of Abra, one of the principle tribes of Sama. (Reference: Report of Tribes/Sindh Doctor U.M. Daud Pota, Member Sindh Public Service Commission, 1901).As soon as a man joined the new tribe; he became a participator in good and ill of the fate of the group. Once having had shown his worth, he was given vested interest in tribal welfare by acquiring a portion of the tribal land, at the decennial division and the final seal was a marriage within the old members set up. The numbers of tribe increased or decreased on the success of raids and booty shared of the plunder, which fell to each [Ref; p-198/199 Mari/Bugti Country vol l ch.v Government of Balochistan records 1906].

This is a cross post from:

Legacy of British Aristocratic Order Continues

By: Naveed Tajammal

Be it any part of present Pakistan it would be very hard, but for a few exceptions, for any the leading Aristocratic class to prove that, the grant still held was Not for services rendered to the East India Company or the Crown continue the descendants in the chain, who since 1947 have changed coats, flags, bandwagons, what irks one the most that how after 1947,they managed to change the clauses of the grants, as they all till British Rule ended remained subject to the law under which they had been awarded in the first place. As will be subsequently explained in the article all grants irrespective of acreage remained subject to the whim and wishes of the state. Pathan-Maliks

The legacy of this new class is not old at all, after the annexation of the Sikh Kingdom, or earlier in what came to be called Sindh or Balochistan, Kalat state, and upper regions were made in Punjab, and Gilgit agency. Not discussing the Buffer zones created, as well keeping in view the looming threat of Czar of Russia to access the warm waters in the south.

One interesting point which became a sore issue with the new class was the personal service to the government clause, as and when required by the state to invoke, in case of any threat to its Frontiers. The clever English knowing the weakness of these men, but loyalist, came up with a new law to circumvent the old clause. To ensure that these loyal lackeys continue to rake the poor and fill the coffers of the state exchequers, and compensate the Crown by providing them cannon fodder for its Wars, by giving recruits in lieu off. The rule was fixed that,” Two-Anna’s were to be paid to the Government for each Rupee of Jagir revenue, in special cases, however the bulk paid, ”Four -Anna’s in the rupee and for succeeding generations it was Eight-Anna’s in the rupee, however

those who provided exceptional good services and looked after the long line of communications, ferry-points, camels/horses when required, or men, the Crown Acknowledged their services, by giving them permanent reduction in their rate of commutations to just One-Anna to the rupee, however Two-Anna remained for the most.

In 1864 emerged a new list of precedence of new chiefs, and native gentlemen of Punjab and its dependencies [excepting Simla states] who were invited to attend the Vice-regal Darbar to be held at Lahore on 18th October 1864.The said list was divided into two classes A and  B, total number of men invited were 603 individuals, with 39 more who came as government officials designated

in various parts, The list column as given in the list has, the Region/Division from which he hailed, his seat number[on which he was to sit] Name, Nazr[due from him],Khilat [Crowns due back to him] and  remarks of his standing i.e. From Peshawar, seat number 32,was of Syed Aya uddin of Kunar, Nazr [Rs.800],Khilat [RS.1600]  jagirdar/Magistrate of Morazai, Again from Peshawar, Seat number 565,wasof Kazi Nadir Ali, Nazr [RS.100],khilat [RS.125]  Vakil of Jammu Government, in attendance on Deputy Commisioner of Hazara.

Example from Derajat [trans-Indus, from Kashmore till Isakhel and  Bannu, Marwat, Tank regions] an exceptional case being quoted from a actual old family, Seat number 145,Mian Shahnawaz Sarai, Nazr [Rs.500],Khilat [RS.625] Descendant of the Kulhora Rulers of Sindh-Jagirdar/Magistrate of Rajanpur. Another example from Derajat,seat number 416,Faiz ullah khan Bannochi, Nazr [RS.100]

Khilat [Rs.250] son of lalbaz khan a malik of Bannu. From Lahore, seat number 15 was of Raja Harbans Singh.Nazr [RS.1400],Khilat worth RS.1750 consisting of 3 jewels, Tass Khilat of 7 pieces,1 sword,1 shield,1 remarks it was mentioned that he was the adopted son of Raja Tej Singh, again from Lahore was seat number 602 given to one Nizamuddin, Nazr [RS.50], Khilat [Rs.75].

From Rawalpindi which included Shahpur [later sargodha]/Kushab, seat number  514,was of Fatah khan Tiwana, Nazr [RS.100],Khilat [Rs.150].Again from Rawalpindi, seat number 514A,[co-shared],Mohar singh Dowiatalia, Nazr [Rs.100] khilat [Rs125].From Multan,seat number 402,Kazi Muhammad Jan, Nazr [RS.100] Khilat [Rs.200],again from multan, seat number 373,Ghulam Kadir khan khakwani,Nazr [RS.100] Khilat [Rs 200].

Out of 603 invited, from whole British Punjab, Lahore division had 107 representatives, Derajat, 99, Peshawar. 60,Rawalpindi, 50,and Multan 12, in all 228.

Most of people inducted here were those who had taken part with Major. Edwards, in his move from Bannu towards Multan, in 1848, to fight the Revolt of Dewan Mul-Raj. Governor of Multan province of Sikh kingdom. Later all these people had petitioned the Company for rewards due, and vide letter No.1975 dated 18 june 1850,The Board of Administration under its Rule no.2 had given following

executive orders to its Deputy Commissioners, It was upon the petitioner to prove that he or his other members of his family were with the columns of Major Edwards in Various, battles fought to establish the Writ of the Company, where need arose.

After the death of Ranjit Singh, The British had sent a political agent to Peshawar to keep a check on activities of local Tappadars who raked the revenues from poor to pass on to the Sikh Darbar or Takht Lahore.

An example of such a correspondence is, as seen in the Press List of records of North West Frontier Agency [which was prior to annexation of Sikh kingdom the region now called East Punjab] with HQ at Ludhiana. for the years 1840-1842.the letter was despatched from Peshawar by Lieut. Mackenson dt.17 july 1840 to G.R. Clerk, esq, the agent to Governor General. Subject was; Defeat of Mukarrab Khan of Punjtar by Arsala khan of Zaida with Sikhs in his support, being a local Tappadar of sikhs.

The Abstract of the letter was; Lieut. Mackenson  reports, that, copies of letters from the  Mir of Sodum in Yusufzia reporting

that one Arsala khan a portege/Tappadar, of Sikhs,has defeated Mukarab khan of Punjtar,adds that sikhs are said to have collected about RS.40,000/- of revenue from Yusufzia territory this year;

The British in order to retain on the seat their new class of created loyalists,had also come with Court of Wards,concept,whereby as most were habitual Gamblers they used to run in heavy Debts with local money lenders,in most case lock, stock and barrel was hocked to the Hindu khatri moneylenders. So an amendment was made in August 1895,appendix ix to Deppt of [Rev.]and [Agric.][G] no’s79-105,proposed the amendment to the law. As by June 1895, the number of estates which were in court of ward had arisen to 64,with an income of RS.10,53,531/- and expenses of RS.10,59,067/-

The law was very clear it was for only those jagir holders who held land from the Crown, and not for those who through speculation had acquired large tracts of land, they were left by the state to Rise and  Fall on their merit.

The D.C of the concerned district, in matter of Court of Wards, took over the estate paid off the debt and next in line was given the charge of the Jagir.

The swat River Canal had come in operation from Khariff 1885, and it extended to Kalpani and was to irrigate the whole Maira circle.

However large grants in anticipation had already been awarded to loyalists,Vide PRAR Feb.1896 for Mardan and  Swabi,the following Eight persons got the bulk of Jagirs awarded to them, for having in the past provided services to the Company and  Crown, beyond call of Duty. In all 136,643 acres barani/nahri [irrigated/none irrigated] was given to just these Eight.

Khawaja Mohammad khan of Hoti was given 24,905acres,  Muhabbat khan of Toru got 24,226 acres, Khan Bahadar Ibrahim khan s/o malik ghulam khan got 24,892 acres, Shad Mohammad Khan s/o Mir Afzal khan got 24,646 acres, Sher Ali of Hoti got 6738 Acres,  Musammat. Mastura Bibi Aunt of Shad khan of mardan, got 1562 Acres, Progeny in direct line of Mir. Babu khan got 30,961 acres, Subedar Habib Khan got 5721 acres in land and  RS.3,076 in Inam.

The terms of these Grants were very clear.For Service and position . To be continued to a single heir designated by Crown, heir to be chosen by the Government. Services required. Subject to good behaviour and  service. f]Govt, service to be rendered when required.

To see to it that these large 8 grants were in a compact blocks, Captain Deane and Lala Mangal Sen Extra Assistant Commissioner had to remove a very large number of people who already held land in the region, reduced, now in narrow long strips, as division of the family lands, they were removed elsewhere and given land in a block of the total strip when measured. So were accommodated these Eight new Jagirdars.

By 1896 the land of Shad Mohammad khan above cited had been shifted to the Court of Wards, and let on lease @ RS.1-8-0/- or for one rupee and eight anna’s per acre.

Covering the rest of Peshawar District having seen the major Jagirs awarded in Mardan and  swabi, we move to Peshawar Tahsil and  Nowshera. Vide assessment report of tahsils by Louis W. Dane esq.1896.pages 28-34.

Tahsil Nowshera had 7 jagirs awarded, example being, Estate :Banda Shekh ismail circle chahi /nahri. Name of jagirdar. Farid khan and  murad khan sons of Arbab Abdul Majid and  Mussammat. Zamurra, Daughter of  Arbab Fateh Mohammad. Acreage was 4/5th of total village land measuring 1343 acres. revenue being RS.444/-.Remarks. Part of khalil arbabi jagir RS.5000 released under orders conveyed in Punjab of 12th april 1859 to abdul majid on the death of his son Fateh Mohammad in 1879, the grant changed into perpetuity grant in favour of his children subject to resumption of 1/4th on death of each child.

In Tahsil Peshawar total jagirs numbered 41, The case study of one in the end is a must to further elucidate the point that these jagirs remained always under the Thumb of the state, how after 1947 the change came baffles one’s mind.

Estate : Landi Yarghajo and 14 other estates, Name of Jagirdar. Arbab Muhammad Hussain Khan son of Arbab Sarfraz khan of Landi Yarghajo-total acres-27,007. revenue RS.10,937/- remarks: given vide Govt. of Indialtr. no,106 dt.13 jan 1875. to Nawab Sarfraz khan on condition of Arbabi services, and vide 11 may 1887 to Arbab Muhammad Hussain RS.300/- for life and remaining RS.10,637/- during the pleasure of Government as an arbabi grant.

As we see all Grants irrespective of Size were governed by the same hand and subject to strict rules and  regulations, displeasure was revoking of the grant.

NOTE: This is a cross post from:

Bengal Army Vs Indus Army 1857

By: Naveed Tajammal

Indus-ArmyAfter the Conquest of the Sikh Kingdom, in 1849 the region was designated in records as Punjab, Though the British had taken over Lahore Takht [throne] by February 1846, when they rode in and took over the Lahore Fort, as the chaotic rule after the death of Ranjit Singh 1839 had continued, followed by revolt of Mul Raj, 1848, the Dewan [Administrator] of Multan suba [province],which was the final take over. In the train of British came the Purbi Bengal Army, as records show the composition of British East Indian Army till 1856, was as under;

[Report of Commissioners.1859, Vol.v-p-377]

Bengal Army, had Crown and Company British troops numbering,24,594,the native high caste Brahmans and Rajputs were 137,109,The Madras Army,had,10,352 British troops and 33,201 native troops mainly purbi, of above Hindu castes, Bombay Army had,10,158 British and 44,911 native troops, total being 45,104 British and 234,221 native; total Force of 280,325 men.

Only in the upper Indus region after formation of this new Punjab geographic entity and inclusive of Trans-Indus, Peshawar and Derajat Divisions, there were 36,000 Bengali Army purbi’s infesting the Region, As well as 13,430 local levies of irregular troops, guarding frontiers or ferry points. The Bengal Army was stationed in newly formed cantonments in the each new, to be Administrative District. The result was that from 1846 onward a massive influx of Hindustani purbi, in thousands came, with British and the Bengal Army, purbi  syces [grooms tending horses],grass cutters to feed the, animals of Animal transport regiments, Artillery drivers of the bullocks, camp-followers, bazar people and domestic help, all were tried and tested Hindustani, purbi’s, loyal to the British till then and so came the Bengali Babu’s  and scribes, ever ready to squeeze and wring the poor and earn on, the side, while the sun shone upon them, it was on their instigation that Urdu was imposed on us. And soon all lucrative offices in all Government departments were filled by them. Only in Lahore Division of the six native extra assistants in the division 5 were purbi’s of 19 Tehsildars and 47 Kotwals and 47 Thanadars, half were purbi Hindustani’s, by 1857[Mutiny Reports vol. lll LHR div p-227],the same proportion existed at lower tehsil/Thannah/Mohurir levels in the Saddar offices,the desk jobs of Serishtedars, Nazirs and Mohurrirs, orderly Jemadars and even Chaprrassai’s [peons] were filled by The one and only Purbi Hindustani.

In short after 1846, and fully after 1849, the whole region was the Gold mine of the Hindustani, whose rapacious revenue collection tactics surpassed that of even the plundering Sikh of the former times. During the mutiny period of the Bengal Army the troops had been by and large contained and put under guard. However the dismissal of Hindustani within the statecraft could not be implemented, as no substitutes could be arranged on such a short notice, as all rungs on the ladder on the lower executive side were with the purbi, who continued harassing and looting the Public at large in the mayhem. Followed by the Hindu Khatri grain merchants who also acted as the money lenders, the major cause why Indus Army took on the Bengali Army revolt of 1857.

John Lawrence, had taken remedial measures, firstly he secured all major strategic installations, Lahore, fort and Arsenal, Ferozepur likewise, which had 7,000 barrels of Gun powder, and also Forts of Phillour and Govindgarh. All Bengal army units were disarmed and those found guilty were hung.

By middle of 1857 it was fully established that Indus region had No sympathy with those of Purab. So between May-December 1857, 18 new regiments were raised numbering 34,000 men, as well irregular levies of 7,000 horsemen and 9,000 men on foot, to keep watch and ward on the Bengali purbi army men under close arrest. The Hindu Brahmans ruse of taking over the British Indian Empire and introducing their Hindutva rule was cut in the bud, but for timely intervention of Indus Army.

The crux of Indus regions hatred for the Hindustani was not just the scornful attitude of Bengal Army, but the greed of those employed in the lower echelons of the British Statecraft. They were the instigators, fermenters of sedition, prime movers, and their emissaries were pundits of mandhirs [Hindu temples] who had sung the patriotic lullaby to achieve their ultimate end to rule, and used the Muslims of their Hindustan as scapegoats, and were first to, redeem and rejoin the British fold and flourished the most.

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Review of the Book, Case of Sindh by G.M.Syed

By Naveed Tajammal

G-M-SyedThe book, ”Case of Sindh”, was first published in an artificial language created by Reverend. Ernst Trumpp a German Christian missionary,which will be explained subsequently in this article, entitled ‘Sindh  Galha-ay-thee (Sindh speaks)1992 and was translated in English by Hameed Sabzoi 1994.

While giving grounds of his case G M Syed acknowledges that Sindh is a distinct Geographic entity where there are rivers, forests, lakes, mountains, deserts and verdant valleys. Through the ages it has been expanding and contracting. It has been independent and enslaved during various stages of its history but at the same time it has always had a pure and proud soul which has never accepted slavery or indignity. It has never surrendered to death despite the fact that attempts have been made to bend or break it. This spirit has flitted around Sindh like monsoon clouds as the last voice of the Dravidians of Moenjo daro. It has emerged from time to time. Sometimes in the shape of Raja Dahir, sometimes in the person of Dodo Sommro, sometimes in shape of Darya Khan and Maukhdum Bilawal and Shah Hyder Sannai. It has expressed itself in the love and the course of Shah Enayat. In the next para Syed adds, “I feel that these historic persons of Sindh have become part and parcel of my being which would like to reach a logical end now.” Without doubt it is Sindh’s geographic, national, political, economic, cultural and moral beauty which is the ingredients of its independence. It is the throbbing spirit which has forced me since early childhood to strive for the emancipation of Sindh and its people whatever shape my political struggle has taken south Asia; it has had but one local point-independence for Sindh. All that which I will now state about my political endeavors should be seen in the light of the submissions I have just made and so starts hereafter his case addressed to the court with ‘your honor!’ The 301 pages in this book are bitter with reproach and a unjustified lament, One would have given Mr. G.M Syed credit for his contribution in the making of Pakistan but his utterance on P-33 shows his true self, ‘I was aware even then (1940) that Muslim League was not an end in itself for me, but, a means to an end’ (P-33).

Keeping in view his venom, one tries to find the roots of the malady. The Crux, is, he is against Punjabi Bureaucracy its soldiery and the mind of U.P (P-46),but he never bothered to read how the geographic term Punjab was thrust upon upper Sindh by clever British in Cahoots with Hindu Bengali Babu’s in 1849 AD, after annexation of Sikh Kingdom, and that Punjabi as such was and is not our language, but a dialect created, by clash of two, Lhandha of west and Hindi of Par’ab, Vulg. Purbi [across the River/east]  over a long period of time the actual  historical/geographic Punjab, is now called East Punjab. It must be kept in mind here that, two alien languages, Urdu and English were likewise thrust upon us firstly in our Courts as they replaced our old laws by the Anglo-Saxon, 1850-1854.

The True ambition of Mr. G.M Syed and so his ends, was to remain within oneness of India. ‘I was for an independent India with complete autonomy for the provinces. It meant that there should be two federations, one for the provinces with Hindu Majority and other Muslim majority provinces and which two should for specific purposes act as a confederation on the bases of equality of members and ministers’ (P-81/82). In other words he wanted one federating part named as India and the other Pakistan. Which only shows how shallow his convictions for his version of Sindh were, Had he studied our past he would have understood that, when old historian referred to Sindh Va Hindh, The Sindh was the whole Indus Basin, and Hindh all those East of the line of Jumana [purbi].

G.M Syed was much impressed by a Hindu writer, Dwarka Parshad Sharma who wrote a book Sindh Ka Prachin Ittehas (part II) in which the author brings out a fallacious map of Vedic Era, and states that while Gandhara and Kekeya were indeed Sindh yet Sindhu Desh was an entity by itself. G.M Syed quotes sharma, in his book on P-215-217 and builds his case around it.

And so the concept of Sindhu Desh not realizing, that the word ‘desh’ is not found in any of the Dialects of Sindh Language. Here We find a repeat of what one saw later in East Pakistan, Hindu Sanskrit drunk intellectual of later half of 19the Century, had convinced the British that only recourse to have a stable Bengal devoid of Islam was to expunge its old Muslim Literature, leaving aside the deadly works of Tagore typical Hindu style outwardly sweet and inwardly poisoned, in 1880 the Bengal Government ordered that henceforth the perso-arabic Bengali script used in the Courts/offices was to be abolished, and Deva-nagri script was to be used in Print, and Kaithi script was to be used in all petitions or hand written. With no references left, for anybody to recheck from, so the field was cleared for likes of Tagore, who changed the literature of Bengal by infusing in the Hinduism to hilt not bothering that historically it had been Buddhist and later Muslim.

So British in cahoots with Hindu merchant wealthy classes who wanted to create a new language of  their Gold mine- Sindh and which they termed as lower and upper Sindh of Bombay Presidency hired the services of a Christian missionary, a German Rev. Dr. Ernst Trumpp who had been earlier entrusted with translating the Bible in local dialects of Sindh valley. This job of creating a new Grammar of new Sindhi, he completed in 1872 and dedicated the work to Sir Bartle Frere [who came from a staunch Christian clergy family] and was Chief- Commisioner of Upper and Lower Sindh Province, and later Governor of Bombay Presidency and remained much under influence of a Fanatic Hindu, Seth Naomul Hotchand who ensured, that the humble servant Ernst Trumpp should interpolate in a theory that Sindhi was indeed from Sanskrit Family and so the infusion of Kanuji Hindi Dialect Loan words in it ‘o’ ending and ‘jo’.Whereas the reality was pointed out by Prof. Dr. Ghulam Ali Allana of Institute of Sindhology publication number 176 [2002],on pages 68/69,clearly states that, The Language of Indus valley from pre-historic to present is the same as found in Lhandha-sindhi Group, After comparing morphological and syntactical patterns of Sindhi/saraiki/Lhandha, it has been proved that there is No relationship whatsoever, between them and Sanskrit !

This new artificial language of Ernst Trumpp was based on Vichla sub-dialect of Lar,The Lower Sindh had been the region which was gradually re-claimed from the sea and so ‘lar’ means the sloping grounds. The massive  flow of united waters of sindh river after Josh e Ab, as it enters Lar region becomes known as Mehran [great river] and ceases to be called Sindh, which had brought in silt from upper Sindh basin since ages and caused due to heavy silting this sloping Land and receding back of the Sea. The very Grammarian of this new language Ernst Trumpp states in the opening Page 2/3 of his book ‘Grammar of Sindhi Language (1872).The Northern or Saraiki Dialect has remained far more original has preserved the purity of pronunciation with more tenaciousness than southern one (Lar -Vichla)His humor is ironic as he further elucidates this point by giving a famous saying said in Sariki/sindhi- English translated as.

”The learned of ‘Lar’ is an ox in Upper Sindh”.

G.M Syed being from ‘Lar’ one need not add here more. G.M Syed declares Arabs as Barbarians who destroyed his mythical Raja Dahir and so ended his loved Hindu Rule in Sindh. Yet what he fails to comprehend is he himself in his book while narrating his background stresses forcibly that he belongs to an old saint family of Sindh which has lived here for 20 generations, which ironically is an Arab Family. Syeds, being pure Arabs from the Line of the Prophet. For a confused man like GM Syed who ends his-case of Sindh with a slogan, Jai- Sindh’. One cannot help be reminded of a letter written to GM Syed by his friend Pir Ali Mohammad Rashdi-in a jest that if he kept his rant of Sindhu-Desh his epitaph would be:

“Here lies a man who tried , who wanted good of evil. He started off as a revolutionary but ended up as an extreme reactionary’. And whose struggle in national affairs created confusion rather than improvement”.

Naveed Tajammal is a historical investigative journalist with over 30 years of research experience.

NOTE: This is a cross post from: