Guest Blog by Silence posted from Islamabad Observer
A perception is systematically being spread in West about Pakistan being a nursery for terrorists and with the recent unrest in Tribal regions of Pakistan, the western media has started a campaign to prove that a ‘civil war’ is going on in Pakistan and some have gone to the extent that Pakistan is going to fall in to hands of extremists just like Iran, in an Islamic revolution and her Nuclear weapons can go in to hands of terrorist, quite understandable, as this very fear was created and nourished by former dictator Pervez Musharraff to get western support for his illegitimate rule that if he steps down, the militants would take over and George Bush administration which wanted to keep Americans in a constant state of ‘fear’ marketed the idea to international community for its so called war on terror. “The main objective of the Islamophobes, particularly in the US media, academia and politics was pitting Muslims against each other. It was promoted in the name of a “war within Islam.” Soon after 9/11 the calls for a “war within Islam” intensified. Pakistan was the high value target long before the war against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan, but undermining the Soviet Union was a priority. Focus shifted to Islam and Pakistan after the Soviet withdrawal. Taliban became the perfect scapegoat. Instead of helping the Taliban to correct their approach and ways to living by Islam, Muslims fully participated in demonising the Taliban. Operation 9/11 was planned. A war on Afghanistan was planned even before that. The country was invaded and occupied not just for the sake of occupying Afghanistan but for encircling the cooperating Pakistan as well. Write Abid Ullah Jan a researcher and Author of famous book, “The Musharraff Factor: Leading Pakistan to its inevitable demise”.
Weather it’s a civil war, an Islamist revolution or a “United States sponsored terrorism for oil” and part of plan of Neo-conservatives and American oil giants who want an access to energy rich Central Asia and want to use Afghanistan, NWFP and Baluchistan region till Indian ocean as a route for their energy supplies. American CIA with the help of Pakistani dictator General Zia ul Haq and Pakistani intelligence service ISI successfully turned Soviet-Afghan war in to Jihad or a ‘holy war”, the students from religious schools around the world were recruited with help of Muslim clerics by CIA and sent to tribal regions of Pakistan where they were trained by ISI and armed with sophisticated Americans weapons before sending them to join the ‘holy war’ in Afghanistan. In 1986, the Soviets troops were forced to withdraw from many areas because of heavy casualties and finally, under heavy international pressure managed by USA and huge losses in the battlefield, Soviet Union withdrawn its troops from Afghanistan in 1988.
After withdrawal of Soviet troops, the President Najibullah was unable to resist the warrior groups for long and his shaky government finally tumbled to warlords. Around 1.5 million Afghans were killed, six million were forced to leave their homes to neighboring countries majorly Pakistan who hosted more then 3 million refugees, and the country’s infrastructure was badly damaged. The US, which was the main supporter of the so-called Mujahidin’s, had its aim achieved; its main rival, the Soviet Union was defeated and plunged into a process of disintegration. The US no longer needed those who were fighting for an Islamic cause, General Ziaul Haq’s plane mysteriously burst in air killing the entire team of top generals who played a key role in Afghan resistance against Soviet Union. Most Arab governments, directed by the US, also stopped helping the Mujahideen and wanted their citizens who fought in Afghanistan to go back home. Abdullah Azzam, who brought the Arab fighters to Afghanistan, was assassinated in a bombing, and Osama bin Laden who was sourcing arms for Mujahidin from international black market as a CIA middleman was put on the “most-wanted” list by the Saudi government.
The Afghan warlords, who were previously one united army on US payroll, were then divided into several groups as struggle for power started pushing Afghanistan in to a civil war, This was the time when Pakistani intelligence service ISI which has contributed a lot in terms of man power and resources in Soviet defeat and has deep strategic interests in region organized Taliban or students of religious schools who drive away the warlords in matter of no time. The Pakistan’s military establishment planned to install a ‘friendly’ government in landlocked Afghanistan which is heavily dependent on Pakistan for trade and food, in order to use it as a trade route to energy rich Central Asia. Benazir Bhutto’s government was swift to recognize the Taliban government and her foreign minister termed Taliban as ‘apney bachy’ meaning ‘our own kids. This enraged US whose intrestes were better served by an Afghanistan ruled by war lords, CIA and US oil companies have hailed the Caspian and Central Asia as a potential alternative to dependence on oil from the unstable Persian Gulf region, employed Osama Bin Laden who not only hijacked Taliban movement but also played a major role in downfall and dismissal of Benazir’s government after which she could never regain the trust of the west.
United States started negotiating Afghanistan pipeline route with Taliban government which was pushed by the US-based Unocal oil company from Turkmenistan across western Afghanistan and Pakistan to the Indian Ocean, and was engaged in intensive negotiations with the Taliban regime. However, once so called ‘our own kids’ proved to be tough negotiators and talks ended in disarray, the Clinton administration demanded handover of Osama Bin Laden who seek shelter in Afghanistan as a ‘guest’ of Taliban government as allegedly he played a role in bombing of US embassy in Tanzania and on Taliban’s refusal launched cruise missile attacks on alleged bin Laden training camps in eastern Afghanistan. According to a report in the Washington Post, the Clinton administration and Nawaz Sharif, then prime minister of Pakistan, agreed on a joint covert operation to kill Osama bin Laden in 1999. The US would supply satellite intelligence, air support and financing, while Pakistan supplied the Pashtu-speaking commandos who would penetrate southern Afghanistan and carry out the actual killing. The attack was aborted on October 12, 1999, when Sharif was overthrown in a military coup by General Pervez Musharraf, who halted the proposed covert operation.
After disgraceful removal of Bill Clinton and the installation of George Bush in the White House, the talks with Taliban continued, Bin Laden, the Forbidden Truth, written by Jean-Charles Brisard and Guillaume Dasquie, the two French authors write that the Bush administration was willing to accept the Taliban regime, despite the charges of sponsoring terrorism, if it cooperated with plans for the development of the oil resources of Central Asia. The failure of these negotiations shifted the focus of American Neo-conservative policy in Afghanistan to preparing for a full scale military intervention directed at the Taliban regime as a whole and introduction of ‘state sponsored terrorism in Pakistan, Cline and Alexander suggested a definition of state sponsored terrorism: The deliberate employment of violence or the threat of use of violence by sovereign states (or sub-national groups encouraged or assisted by sovereign states) to attain strategic and political objectives by acts in violation of law. These criminal acts are intended to create overwhelming fear in a target population larger than the civilian or military victims attached or threatened.
According to Boaz Ganor, of ICT ‘for many years, terrorism was perceived as a contest between two sides: on the one hand, a group of people or an organization, and on the other, a sovereign state. However, during the course of the second half of the twentieth century, various countries began to use, and indeed have expanded their use of terrorist organizations to promote state interests in the international domain. Instead of the “weapon of the weak” – minority groups, liberation movements, and revolutionary organizations – terrorism has become a tool of states and even of superpowers. In some cases, states established “puppet” terrorist organizations, whose purpose was to act on behalf of the sponsoring state, to further the interests of the state, and to represent its positions in domestic or regional fronts. In other cases, states sponsored or supported existing organizations, thereby creating mutually profitable connections. In order to understand more clearly who is behind the acts of violence in Pakistan and what goals they want to achieve we would have to look in to chain of events followed by the failure of US-Taliban talks for pipeline. Surprisingly that dozens of so-called Islamic fundamentalists, many with known ties to Osama bin Laden, were able to carry out a wide-ranging conspiracy on three continents, targeting the most prominent symbols of American power ‘the Twin Towers’, on September 11, 2001, without any US intelligence agency having the slightest idea of what they were doing which gave US an excuse to invade Afghanistan.
The major problem in exploiting the energy resources of Central Asia is how to get the oil and gas from the landlocked region to the world markets. CIA opposes using either the Russian pipeline system or the land route, across Iran to the Persian Gulf, while the most feasible and relevant to the so-called war on terror, south from Turkmenistan across western Afghanistan and Pakistan to the Indian Ocean. The only way to achieve this goal is by installing a puppet government in Afghanistan along with control over NWFP region of Pakistan, disintegration of Pakistan resulting in to an autonomous Baluchistan. The hidden plan of Bush-Musharraff for Pakistan came in to light when the ‘Rand Corporation’ published a future map of Pakistan which included NWFP as a part of Afghanistan, Sindh as a autonomous state and Baluchistan shown as a part of Iranian Baluchistan as an autonomous region, the greater US plan for control over energy resources of Central Asia and a safe transit rout till Indian gulf s a part of “New Asia” plan of Neoconservatives which can only be achieved with disintegration of Pakistan and possession of her nuclear weapons in wake of fear of these weapons going in to hands of extremists followed by an Iranian invasion by US. The state sponsored terrorism became a tool to bring Pakistan to its knees by breeding militant groups sponsored by India-US alliance and at the same time to cultivate a public hatred towards Pakistan army by providing full support to a military dictator and involving armed force in to government affairs to take blames for a dictator’s decisions.
There is a wide perception that Musharraff gave up on ‘one phone call’ and supported the so called ‘war on terror’ which does not seems to be true, the very installation of Musharraff in Islamabad was part of plan for American invasion of Afghanistan, he was supposed to face a trial for his ‘military misadventure’ in Kargil when Bill Clinton administration offered Nazaw Sharif a cover up for Kargil and in return demanded assassination of Osama, a long time friend and supporter of Nawaz, this was a claver move as Clinton administration would get rid of two key operatives of Neo-cons, an army Chief in Islamabad and Osama Bin Laden in Afghanistan, however with fall down of Nawaz Sharif government in a ‘quo’ by Musharraff, the Neo-cons were able to protect both of their allies and key partners for future oil plan. On October 17, 1999, Musharraf told the nation: “Our aims and objectives shall be: No. 1- rebuild national confidence and morale; No. 2 – strengthen federation, remove inter-provincial disharmony and restore national cohesion; No. 3 – revive [the] economy and restore investors’ confidence; No. 4 – ensure law and order and dispense speedy justice; No. 5 – depoliticize state institutions; No. 6 – devolution of power to the grassroots level; and lastly, No. 7 – ensure swift … accountability.
Once Musharraf was in power many secular and nationalist politicians were disqualified for much less, including not having a higher education and through controversial NAB many were forced out of politics. Banned groups were allowed to continue working under new identities with the same leadership, Baitullah Mehsud, a former Guantanamo Bay detainee came back to Pakistan and started recruiting ‘Mujahedeen’ with American funds and agencies were not allowed to take action against him despite the fact that ISI has very strong presence in Tribal Areas. To fuel the sentiments of unemployed Baluch youth the elderly Baluch Tribal Chief who was demanding arrest and trial of a Pakistan army captain, a relative of Pervez Musharraff, involved in rape of a lady doctor, was assassinated because of personal rivalry by dictator pushing the entire province on mercy of Indo-American financed ‘separatists’, in NWFP several groups of so called Pakistani Taliban pop up and started implementing their own version of Islam but no action was taken against them until they become strong enough to challenge the security forces. Obviously, there can be no war on terror unless there are terrorists, and the Bush-Musharraff plan was to breed terrorists to give legitimacy to war on terror. Despite the late and half hearted military actions which majorly caused civilian causalities rather then damaging terrorists, the promised US aid for development of Tribal region which included building infrastructure, creating employment opportunities for locals and giving the products of areas a free access in international markets never materialized resulting in a broader local support for terrorists. At the same time terrorists became a symbol of justice and peace by taking over the administrative powers from corrupt administrators appointed as a favor by the dictator. As a result the tribal regions of Pakistan became a sanctuary for Afghan and local terrorists in disguise of Taliban giving a valid excuse to US to launch attacks inside Pakistan on pretext that these groups were involved in cross border attacks on US forces. Surprisingly most of these attacks were directed on civilian population resulting in a sentiment of revenge against government in locals rather then causing any substantial damage to terrorist hideouts. The Osama Bin laden is not access able by US even with the most sophisticated technology and more then a decade’s war although one of his tape surfaces when Bush was near to loose second term elections or Musharraff was being impeached, to develop a favorable public opinion for the both Many people inside military and civil establishment including the retired generals started asking if Musharraf was really putting the final nail in the coffin of a nation.
He used excessive force in Baluchistan to solve a political problem in return of valid demands of Baluchistan nationalist parties over natural resources, unemployment in Baluch youth and extreme poverty as compared to other provinces and thousands of political activists were arrested commonly referred as ‘missing Pakistani’s, apart from those were handed over to US as “Al-Qaida” operatives and later proved to be innocent and an international embracement for US.He removed the Chief Justice who was hearing the cases of “Missing Pakistanis” presently detained by US in Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay and later sacked majority of superior judiciary snatching away the last hope for justice from people in order to push the country in to a civil war. However he never forgot to patronize the ethnic and religious armed groups and successfully assembled a ‘collation of religious extremists’ who formed their governments in 3 out of 4 provinces. The Neo-Con backed Bush-Musharraff collation’s primary goal was to create political turmoil, sectarian violence, religious rivalry, and an atmosphere of fear and terror and alienate public from government, and most importantly to show the failure of state institutions to establish proper stability and security. The assassination of Bhutto is also a part of US agenda with two aims; first to weaken the democratic and secular forces which will strengthen the US backed extremists and secondly to accelerate the distrust in provinces and various ethnic groups to weaken the federation.
It is not hard to understand who is behind this these terrorist groups, Pakistan posses irrefutable evidence that the growth of militancy in Fata and insurgency in Baluchistan together with suicide bombings in Pakistan are the handiwork of a India-US nexus based in Kabul which is indulging in dirty tricks to destabilize Pakistan politically and cause economic deathblow to Pakistan so that its nuclear assets could be possessed along with causing a disintegration which suits the US oil plan for ‘New Asia’. “There are reports of presence of highly encrypted communications gear with Mehsud. This communication gear enables him to collect real-time information on Pakistani troop movements from an unidentified foreign source without being intercepted by Pakistani intelligence” Pakistani officials claim. The forces behind the terrorists operating in Pakistan can also be identified by the “Asia 2025“, a study conducted by the US under secretary of defence (policy), and distributed in limited circles, these documents show that US defence planners are shifting their focus from Europe to Asia where they would wish to contain the threat of an Islamist Pakistan and an economically-resurgent China.
There are several training camps being run by Indian intelligence agency ‘RAW’ in US occupied Afghanistan to train the militant groups involved in Baluchistan and US is harboring an extremist group ‘Jind Allah’ which is involved in terrorist activities inside Iran and uses Baluchistan border areas to enter Iran, these both groups coordinate and support each others activities, the recent suicide bombing in Pakistan are widely believed to be work of ‘BLA’ and Mehsud, both of them backed and hosted by Indian intelligence and being armed by Northern Alliance from Afghanistan. Recently the CIA official were questioned by high level Pakistani officials why the CIA-run predator and the US military did not swing into action when they were provided the exact location of Baitullah Mehsud, Pakistan’s enemy number one and the mastermind of almost every suicide operation against the Pakistan Army and the ISI since June 2006. Admiral Mullen and Kappes were both provided information about the activities of the Indian consulates in Kandahar and Jalalabad and were asked “We wanted to know when our American friends would get interested in tracking down the terrorists responsible for hundreds of suicide bombings in Pakistan and those playing havoc with our natural resources in Baluchistan while sitting in Kabul and Delhi,”, an official described the change in Pakistani mood after the newly elected government came in to power, during the July 12 meetings. Pakistani intelligence service ISI was accused to be responsible for recent bombing in of Indian embassy in Kabul and Bush conveyed his concern to the newly elected Pakistani Prime Minister on his visit to Washington, conveniently ignoring the role of India and US in promoting terrorism inside Pakistan. India has a history of making such accusations and most of the time its own agency ‘RAW’ was staging such bombing similar to attack on Indian parliament. However involvement of ISI is not out of question as both agencies have a history of involvement in such acts on each others lands and it must not be a surprise when Indian-US backed terrorists are carrying similar acts inside Pakistan on daily basis killing innocent civilians and targeting security forces.
Conflict of interests is widening in US and Pakistan and establishment has come to a realization that it have to choose either Pakistan or US interests in the region, same thinking prevailed when in last elections Army refused to act upon the Musharraff plan of rigging elections and when Musharraff was being impeached establishment stayed neutral, the full scale military operation against militants began in tribal areas immediately after the new government came in to power resulting in displacement of more the 200,000 people but the world community and US, a champion of ‘war on terror’ never bothered to come forward to help these civilians rather a dirty campaign has been started against politicians through ‘CIA’ leaks. The expected victory of Barak Obama will also cause certain damage to Neo-Con agenda but would not create a major shift in long term US policies. There seems to be no visible end in US backed “state terrorism’ inside Pakistan in near future.
To what extent newly elected democratic government in Pakistan succeeds in developing counter terrorism measures against ‘US’ backed state terrorism in Pakistan is a question only coming time can answer but will certainly require a complete reversal of Musharraff’s policies, a crack down on extremists and terrorist groups and most required shift in foreign policy which can ensure less reliance on US while strengthening ties with China. However it would not be possible if there is lack of coordination between institutions. Visibly, Asif Ali Zardari is going to win the next presidential elections, he is very well aware of force behind assassination of Benazir Bhutto, in case he can stay away from practices associated with him in last Bhutto regime, and is willing to counter the conspiracy against Pakistan, he will require support and reconciliation with major opposition party PMLN and Nawaz Sharif as to achieve smooth working conditions for his government and Nawaz Sharif has expressed his willingness in case Zardari comes clean in national interest, similarly Justice Iftakhar Muhammad Chaudhry and judiciary sacked by Musharraff would be his natural allies in democratic process to ensure the impartial judicial system, General Ishfaq Pervez Kiani is a professional solider and his commitment of keeping army away from politics is unambiguous, he has shown his willingness to give political system a chance and stay impartial. If such coordination develops in all four major players in Pakistani establishment, it would not be difficult to face the terrorism and international conspiracies. However, if it happens, it will be a surprise in our history and a new experience, the main responsibility rests on politicians to show maturity and support and strengthen the national institutions to face the challenges.