April 14, 2006

Rajesh Gooty of Indiacause featured on Aaj Tak TV-VOA Hindi TV - Duniya

Where: Aaj Tak TV- Prime Time World News Round-up

When: Sunday, The 16th April 2006 at 7:30 PM IST, & 11:30 PM IST



News Programme for Aaj Tak TV-VOA Hindi TV - Duniya (The World):



Rajesh Gooty - NRI's Achievements of the Indian-American community, People in the News.



Life of a Successful NRI in USA, a Pro-India Activist with Focus on his passion - http://www.indiacause.com/

IndiaCause is an E-Activism Web Portal that has very successfully confronted & corrected Western Media bias against India & Indians.

Major Success Stories featured at
http://www.indiacause.com/cause/ic_success_index.htm



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http://www.voanews.com/hindi/
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Aaj Tak TV-VOA Hindi TV - Duniya (The World)



Duniya (The World) is a live, half-hour television news weekly roundup about people, places, and events in the news. We give special focus to the latest happenings in the United States and the Indian-American community, their lives and achievements. The program is co-anchored from Washington and New Delhi.



Duniya is a collaboration between VOA Hindi TV and India’s premier news channel, Aaj Tak, and airs Sunday evenings at 7:30 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. in India. VOA Hindi also feeds news capsules and television reports on breaking and/or developing stories, TV specials to Aaj Tak on a regular basis.





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INDIA NRI- News, Resources & Information.

CBI should file cases against Natwar, Cong.

Title:
Author: Yogesh Vajpeyi
Publication: he Daily Pioneer
Date: April 14, 2006
http://www.dailypioneer.com/

'CBI should file cases against Natwar, Cong'


Yogesh Vajpeyi/ New Delhi


Fresh evidence provides missing links: Jaitley ---- With the appearance
of fresh evidence, the noose appears to be tightening around former
External Affairs Minister K Natwar Singh and the Congress Party. The
Volcker Committee had listed both as "non-contractual beneficiaries" of the
Iraq oil-for-food scam.





Opposition BJP on Thursday asserted that the discovery of Mr Natwar
Singh's letters to Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz, introducing his
relative and Hamdaan Exports director Andaleeb Sehgal, and a written
contract between Hamdaan and Swiss trading firm Masefield AG provided the
missing links that clearly established that these beneficiaries had
received kickbacks as part of an elaborate conspiracy.



BJP general secretary Arun Jaitley demanded that the CBI should
immediately register criminal cases against Natwar Singh and the Congress
Party under the Prevention of Corruption Act and the Foreign Contribution
Regulation Act.



He also wanted the Government to make public Mr Natwar Singh's letters
and other incriminating documents seized by the Enforcement Directorate
that is currently investigating the cases under the Foreign Exchange
Management Act (FEMA).



"ED investigations under FEMA can only lead to penalty while the
offences under the anti-corruption law and Foreign Contribution Regulation
Act are punishable with imprisonment. Registration of cases by the CBI
will also enable it to send a letter of request to the Swiss authorities
to unearth the money trail and discover the eventual beneficiaries," Mr
Jaitley contended.



The BJP leader argued that the trail in the Iraq oil-for-food scam had
hotted up with the disclosure of Mr Singh's letters to the then Iraqi
deputy premier in 2001.



"According to a TV channel report, London based NRI Aditya Khanna - a
business partner of Andaleeb Sehgal - had given a written confession to
the Enforcement Directorate about how the deal unfolded. The channel
also claims to possess a written contract between Sehgal and Masefield
AG, falsifying their denials about having done any business together," he
pointed out.



According to the channel, the contract document has been signed by Nick
Swan of Masefield AG and addressed to 'Andaleeb of Hamdaan'. It lists
'Payment for an allocation of crude oil under UN oil-for-food programme'
as its subject clearly states that the contract is for two million
barrels of Basrah Light due for loading in July or August 2001.



The letter says Masefield was taking full legal assignment of the
allocation in return of payment for a fee and lays down the ground rules for
how the proceeds will be shared.



Since the oil was to be taken to the Far East, the two parties agreed
that Sehgal would receive 30 cents per barrel, of which 25 cents would
be paid to Saddam's kickback accounts and five cents would be the
profit, or Sehgal's share, the document says.



The surfacing of the contract document has provided clinching evidence
in support of the Volcker report that accused Sehgal of paying
kickbacks to the Saddam Hussein regime on behalf of the Congress Party and its
leader Natwar Singh.



Sehgal, a close associate of Natwar's son Jagat Singh, has been
thoroughly interrogated by the Enforcement Directorate but has denied having
been party to any oil transaction.



The discovery of a written contract between Sehgal and Masefield AG and
NRI Khanna's purported confession to ED about Sehgal's role in the scam
belies Prime Minister Manmohan's assertion that mention of Natwar Singh
and the Congress Party in the Volcker report amounted to "unverified
references".



And Mr Singh's letters introducing Sehgal to the Iraqi deputy premier
have demolished the former External Affairs Minister's claim that he
knew nothing about the oil deal.



In one of these purported letters, Mr Singh has introduced Sehgal as a
friend of his son Jagat Singh and recommended him for contracts under
the UN-sponsored oil-for-food programme.



As a senior BJP leader pointed out that media reports about Mr Singh's
letters, the contract between Hamdaan and Masefield and the alleged
confession of the London-based NRI have not been denied either by the
Government or the Congress.



"Natwar Singh has shifted from denial mode to silence mode. This
clearly shows that references to him and Paul Volcker were not unverified but
a result of careful and painstaking investigation," Mr Jaitley said.

Please circulate the attached appeal to BJP/ NDA Members of Parliament

Please circulate the attached appeal to BJP/ NDA Members of Parliament.
If possible, you may contact MPs (addresses, phone numbers and email addresses of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha MPs could be had from http://www.blogger.com/ )

Thanks
KB


Open Letter to BJP/ NDA Members of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha

Subject: Please take a strong stand against Govt. sponsored injustice and Religious Persecution of Hindus and help stop Massive Sale of Temple Lands in AP.

Hon'ble Members of Parliament of the
Bharatiya Janata Party, and the
National Democratic Alliance

Hon'ble National Leaders and Legislators,
Some of the recent media reports have confirmed that beginning this month the AP Govt. would be on its way to sell the Hindu temples endowments lands on a massive scale. Taking away lands endowed for sustenance in perpetuity, in addition to other sales and siphoning off temples revenues for non- religious purposes, etc. will render temples dysfunctional which will disrupt Hindu community's socio cultural and religious life.

There exists a deliberate scheme before the AP Govt. for decimating the Hindu religious infrastructure in state. The lack of appropriate legislative action and protests by legislators on behalf of their injured electorate only encourages an out of control Govt. for becoming more brazen in treating the temple lands as discretionary.
A) The decision by the Andhra Pradesh CM to sell some 7,000 acres of mostly urban endowment temple lands for RS. 20,000 crores in the first phase (attachments A and B) on a high priority with obvious intent to sell everything else later, is deeply shocking. This raises a serious question of the propriety of Govt. as trustees of temples to enforce devastating measures against the Hindu religious infrastructure without the approval of the Hindu community which is the real owner of these estates. The sudden resolve on the lands owned by the temples for centuries and to sell them on a "war footing" makes the decision highly questionable and suspicious. B) Last month yet another media report revealed that the AP Govt. had decided to sell 3,000 acres, the remaining half of endowment Lands in East Godavari District (attachment C). Reacting quickly we sent a protest letter to President Kalam** and circulated it widely. But the indifference and lack of action by authorities continued. Here are in part the deliberate attempts by the AP authorities for decimating the Hindu religious infrastructure (attachment D). C) May we request you to take a principled stand against this Govt. sponsored injustice and religious persecution against Hindus in AP and help restoring temples’ autonomy with their assets intact for the survival of India’s ancient culture. Once devoid of the lands endowed for sustenance in perpetuity, these temples are bound to become dysfunctional, leading to weakening and disintegration of socio cultural and religious life of the community

D) It is highly unsettling that the BJP/ NDA leaders should demonstrate total lack of concern on this serious issue while the Hindu religious infrastructure is systematically demolished by the AP Govt. and other states. It is hard to comprehend why the aspiring "nationalist" rulers of India do not muster the courage to campaign for a very basic, and a non- controversial issue of autonomy of temples, affecting deep religious sentiments and cultural survival of the people they want to represent. Such a lack of concern on basic issues by the BJP leadership could only earn it reciprocal apathy of the majority community during the future election cycles.
E) Given the urgency of the matter, may we request that the BJP and NDA take up this issue promptly and persuade the AP government , through legislative measures, protests and other non-violent means if necessary, to rescind these punitive decisions and denationalize temples by reverting their jurisdiction to the Hindu community. The AP government's sudden decision to dispose off endowment land has created a national emergency for the majority which can neither be ignored nor taken lightly.

Thanks for your time.
Sincerely
Dr. Jagan Kaul Krishan BhatnagarHindu Jagran Forum (Maryland, USA)
April 14, 2006email: krishan.kb@verizon.net
Note:** Our representation to President Dr. Kalam may be seen at http://www.bharatjagran.com/


Attachment A

EENADU, PAGE 1; 30/03/2006
(Faithful translation from Telugu)
AUCTION OF MANDIR LANDS

7000 ACRES IN PHASE I. SALE TO FETCH Rs. 20,000 CRORES.
GREEN FLAG BY THE CHIEF MINISTER. PROCESS TO START IN APRIL:

HYDERABAD: NEWSTODAY

Even though numerous Mandirs in the State have no one to light Deepam, some have plenty of landed properties. State Government has decided to sell off such lands located in the urban areas. In the first phase7000 acres of lands located in other States will be sold. From this the Government is trying to raise Rs.20,000 crores. Government says such sale proceeds will be deposited by them in the accounts of the respective Mandirs and see that the interest will be put at their disposal for their expenditure. However, Government sources themselves are not ruling out the possibility of diverting such liquid amounts to irrigation or some such projects.

Chief Minister YS has reviewed the proposal to sell the Mandir Lands on Wednesday, in the presence of Endowments Minister J.C.Diwakar Reddy. J.C.Diwakar Reddy told the newspersons that the CM has ordered to sell Mandir lands in 'open auction'. It is now known that in Hyderabad city itself about 2000 acres of land would be sold and in similar scale, lands of Simhachalam Devasthanam located in Visakhapatnam District too would be sold. The lands listed for auction include lands near Tirupathi and Vijayawada. It is simultaneously decided to regularize the sale of Ghatkesar Trust lands of Hyderabad sold some time ago as per the market rate. Several VIPs including Hero Nagarjuna feature in the people who purchased the above lands. This Trust still has a land of 300 acres. Government wants to auction these lands too. However, it is noteworthy to see that Revenue Department claims this land is their property since they recognized it as 'surplus land'.

Endowments Department has 180,000 acres in the State of which 30,000 acres are located in the Urban areas. Along with these, lands too are there in other States. In the past, Guntur Amaravathi Devasthanam's Sadavarthi Chowltry has donated 450 acres on the Mahabalipuram Road, prime place of Chennai. People have built permanent buildings on 300 acres of this donated land. The encroached lands were identified with the help of Tamil Nadu Government and regularize as per the market rate. Remaining 150- acres would be auctioned off. A delegation led by Diwakar Reddy is going to Chennai to discuss the issue there. In the middle of Bangalore's Basavanagudi, 12 acres is situated. Of this, 6 acres is under encroachment and remaining part with Endowments Department. Encroachments shall be regularized and remaining lands auctioned off. There are lands in Mumbai too and they too would be hived off.

Official sources told the sale process would begin in a month's time. When our correspondent asked if Committees would oversee the auction process, JC said no such need is there. Apart from this, for encroachments at District level, District Collector shall be the Chairman, Executive Officer of the concerned Mandir, Vice-Chairman/Municipal Commissioner of the concerned place and Police Commissioner of the District would constitute the members of the Committee. He also said that Government would approach the High Court for permission in view of the interim stay imposed by it is pending.


Attachment B
State puts divine property up for sale Deccan Chronicle, April 8, 2006
Hyderabad, April 7: Over 6,000 acres of urban lands belonging to the “gods” are being put up for auction by the endowments department. This decision was taken after the department realised that land sharks had no fear of the gods and were grabbing even “divine” property. After the endowments department expressed its inability to protect the lands, the government gave the green signal for the auction.
In Hyderabad district alone, temples under the endowment department own 4,559 acres of land. Similarly, Sri Narasimha Swamy temple at Simhachalam in Visakhapatnam has 400 acres in urban areas while Hathiram Matam at Tirumala has about 100 acres. The department has already auctioned 9,201 acres of temple lands in rural areas.
“It has become increasingly difficult to protect prime land in urban areas from land sharks,” said A.B. Krishna Reddy, commissioner of the endowments department. “We approached the government and it agreed to the disposal of such lands in open auction.” Mr Krishna Reddy added that the department expected substantial revenue from the sale of lands. “The amount will certainly be huge,” he said. “In places such as Hyderabad, land prices are very high.”
For the present, the endowments department is only planning to auction urban lands. The endowments department owns 3,76,376 acres of land in the State out of which 94,136 acres are wetland and 2,248,136.06 acres are dry land. The department gets an annual income of Rs 62.43 crores through lease of 1,62,829 acres. About 6,124 acres of endowment lands are caught in legal wrangles. “We will also auction 22 acres of prime land belonging to Kashi Visweshwara Swamy temple in Prakasam district,” said Mr Krishna Reddy.


Attachment C

Temple lands ready for sale
Deccan Chronicle http://www.deccan.com/ Rajahmundry, March 14: The Endowments department will be going for an open auction of its lands to the tune of 3,000 acre from April to June in East Godavari district to safeguard temple lands and improve its sources of revenue. Addressing a meeting of officials here on Tuesday, Endowments assistant commissioner B. Venkatasw-amy said that they had auctioned 50 per cent temple lands in the district, raising revenue to the tune of Rs 2 crore, based on the Supreme Court's judgment with regard to the Tenancy Act especially for the State.
He directed the temple officials to make efforts on a war footing to auction the remaining 50 per cent lands in the next three months and said that they could fulfill the ideals of donors by doing so. He asked the officials to give exemption to farmers who had taken about 2.5 acre land on lease in delta areas and those who had taken five acre of land on lease in upland areas as they were landless poor. He directed them to carry out open auction of lands which did not fall under these categories.
He asked them to maintain a property register without fail. He warned of stern action against the officials if they resort to any lapses while auctioning temple lands. Referring to the two bomb blastsat Varanasi recently, he asked executive officers to maintain strict security at temples by appointing security guards to keep round the clock vigil. He advised them to take police help to ensure safety to devotees, especially at important temples in the district.


Attachment D

Hindu temples' disintegration under AP Govt. Control

Under the Chief Ministership of Dr. Samuel Reddy, who seems to view the Hindu shrines through the prism of his personal faith, the pace of de- Hinduisation, desecration and demolition of Hindu religious infrastructure has accelerated. The government in its capacity as the trustee never makes public the financial and management reports mandated under norms of trusteeship to the owners of these properties i.e. the Hindu community. Politicians and bureaucrats have come to consider the revenues and properties of temples as discretionary.

Here is a sketchy description of some of the questionable actions taken under the Govt. control of Hindu temples and religious endowments by AP state government. This account is drawn from the very infrequent media reports which without a doubt establishes the gross mismanagement of the Hindu religious estates under Govt. control and therefore, justifying their quick reversion to community governance as an urgent demand.

A) The AP Govt. has decided to takeover the 500 year old Chilkur Balaji temple, according to a recent report, which is run efficiently and well by pujaris and locals;

B) Half of the temple lands in the East Godavari District have already been sold, while the remaining 3,000 acres are awaiting auction "on a war footing" which will make all temples in the district totally devoid of any endowment lands for sustenance.

C) The state Govt. wants to divert Rs. 90 crores of TTD funds under the pretext of building a veterinary university and a Medical college in Cuddapah;
D) Also, the Govt. intends to draw Rs. 500 crores of TTD money towards irrigation bonds. The grabbing of Rs. 500 cores is on top of the Rs. 1500 crores the state already owes to TTD. Since the current law of TTD doesn't allow the govt. to divert funds therefore, the Govt. is planning to amend that law.

E) To our knowledge the authorities are seriously considering proposals for: a) allowing the construction of a Christian church atop “Tirumala"; and, b) Against the wishes of the Hindu community, building a ropeway at Tirumala to convert the deeply religious place into a tourist hot spot. Such a conversion clearly amounts to desecration of the religious shrine which will change its very traditional character.

Any diversion of revenues, major changes in physical structures, sale/ transfer of lands and properties e.g. the proposal for land for a Church atop Tirumala, religious practices or major projects like the "Master Plan" at TTD must take place only upon the approval by the community.

F) Mr. Dharma Reddy, the special officer, AP claims that only 10 1/3 Square miles of land belong to the Mandir and is administered by the TTD. The statement which is influenced by some religious and commercial interests is totally unacceptable to Hindus, who for sure know that the entire Seven Hills is the sacred land of Hindus. Such irresponsible claims must be put to rest by a straight forward official declaration affirming that the entire area of seven hills is sacred and it belongs to Bhagwan Venkateshwara Mandir.

G) The unforgivable and unforgettable destruction of centuries old historic Mandapam at TTD (Tirupathi Tirumala Devasthanam) with official participation is a stark reminder of a deep malaise - the unwarranted government interference in Hindu places of worship. Due to the aggressive anti-Hindu policy pursued by the Govt. there is faster disintegration and de- Hinduisation of Hindu religious infrastructure in AP. To further improve their political fortunes the Naxals are unlawfully giving away the temple lands. The massive land scam in Hathiramji Mutt at Tirumala, and the infamous demolition of 1000 pillar mandapam at Tirumala represent the multiple strategies for inflicting irreparable injury upon Hinduism.

H) The most indefensible and controversial issue of siphoning the temple revenues and disposing off the temple lands must not be taken so casually. Furthermore, the government of AP has yet to reimburse 28 crores of rupees to the endowment department towards the value of the temple lands illegally acquired earlier for building bus terminals, police stations, etc.

I)There also persist serious charges that 85% of temple revenues are illegally transferred to the state exchequer for funding a ministry with 77,000 bureaucrats to supposedly manage 33,000 temples while leaving many religious activities to die and pujaris to starve.

J) Recently, AP Govt. ensured the entry of JRG Wealth Management Limited, (an organization owned by Christians) into the decision making and procurement process of "Prasadam" materials for use in Tirupati temple. And govt. controlled temple management has also brought in a tie- up of the TTD owned Sri Venkateswara Institute of Medical Sciences with a missionary hospital. Planting the members of the competing religions at the center of Hindu religious decision making adds insult to the injury. How would Christians and Muslims like it if their religious decision making was processed and formalized through Hindu hands?

K) A recent development reveals that a TTD executive officer, appointed by the state, barred hundreds of Sadhus from having a "darshan" of Lord Venkateshwara at Tirupati without paying the necessary fee or tax. He did not show any regard for the fact that the Sadhus, who gave up every material thing for spiritual pursuit, could not be able to pay for such a darshan? A serious question that arises here is if the Govt. should be allowed to profit from the religious belief of the people particularly those people who in the name of the very religion have shunned materialism?

Last but not the least there is the issue of safeguarding of religious artifacts, allegedly stolen or clandestinely sold. No one seems to care or be accountable for such cultural thievery.

April 13, 2006

Balochistan :Secularism and Religious Tolerance

In the late 19th century, when British authorities asked Baluch and Pushtuns how their civil cases should be decided, the Baluch replied: "Rawaj" (Baluch customary law); the Pushtun answered: "Sharia" (Islamic law).

There is an interesting story which exemplifies the Baluch approach to religion: "Once a Baluch was asked why he did not keep the fast of Ramzan(Ramadan). Replied the Baluch that he was excused, as his chief was keeping it for him. "What are you doing?" asked a practising Muslim about his evening prayers. He was answered: "Praying in the fear of God." Rejoined the Baluch: "Come along to my hills where we don't fear anybody."


Religion has played an important role in the rise of some nations, while for others it was rejected as a basis of unity. The nationalists of Belgium and Ireland used religious matters as a basis for their separation from Holland and Britain respectively, and British India was divided into two state-nations in 1947 on religious grounds. On the other hand, the Arab nationalists opposed the religious Khilafat headed by Ottoman Turks. (the Khilafat was a religious and political institution that united the Millat - Muslim Community - under a political banner until 1918). Arab nationalism derives its force from common geography, history and culture rather than from religion. In 1971, the Muslims of Bangladesh rejected the two-nation theory of Jinnah, which was based on religion, and formed their own state.

The Baluch people differ from those of Punjab and Sind, and from the Muslims of India in their concept of a religious state. The Baluch regard reliogion has the individual's private affair.

Befor the advent of Islam, it is believed that the majority of Baluch were Mazdaki and Zorostrians. Today the majority of the Baluch are of the Islamic faith and belong to the Sunni sect, which is predominant in the Muslim world. Their old war ballads, however, claim that the Baluch were followers of Caliph Ali, and were therefore originally followers of Shia Islam.

"We are servants of Hazrat Ali,
the true Imam of the Faith."

According to tradition the Baluch joined Imam Hussain, against Caliph Yazid. After the murder of Hussain, the Baluch were expelled from Syria nd Iraq to Persia. Nothing is known about the causes of their conversion to Sunni Islam. When Iranians embraced Sunni Islam, the Baluch became Shias, and with the conversion of Iranians to Shia Islam we discover Baluch joining the opposite camp - Sunni Islam. In Western Baluchistan, Sunni Islam has played an important role in the development of Baluch nationalism, as the Shia branch of Islam in Iran as always had strained relations with the Baluch. The influence of the Sunni Muslim priest class increased with the Iranian occupation of Western Baluchistan in the 19th century. The Khanate of Baluchistan allied with the Sunni rulers of Turkey, Mughal India, and Afghanistan against Shia Iran. In the 18th century, Nasir Khan the Great took part in several campaigns against Iranians in favour of Sunni Afghans.

Besides the Sunni and Zikri Muslims, their had been and are several other religious minorities in the area, such as Hindus, Zoroastrians, Jews, and Ismailies Khojas.

Hindus have a friendly status in Baluch society, being leadres of Baloch economic life. In the history of the Khanate, the Finance Ministry was headed by a local Hindu, and their are examples of a Hindu serving as governor of a province. During the seige of Kalat (1839), Finance Minister Dewan Bucha Mull, a Hindu, sacrificed his life in the defence of Kalat, along with his master, Mir Mehrab Khan. The Hindu and other minorities always enjoyed the good will policy of secular Baluch society.

In 1947, when the Khanate became an independent sovereign state under the Khanate's constitution, elections were held for the Lower House, Dar-ul-Awam. The Muslim Baluch population elected five Hindu memebers to the Lower House of the Khanate.

Contrary to the Baluch, the Afghans are orthodox Muslims. During the reign of Amir Abdur-Rahman, Amir of Kabul, the Kafirs (or Kalash tribe) were converted forceably to Islam and their country was renamed "Nuristan" (the land of light). The Persians did not tolerate Babis or Bahais and Sunnis. In the Indian subcontinent, Muslim rulers like Aurangzeb adopted a fanatic policy towards Hindus. During the independence movement in 1947, Hindus of Punjab, Sind and the North West Frontier Province were massacred by their Muslim neighbours. The Hindus inhabiting the Baluch regions, however, lived in peace and harmony and were protected in the border areas by the Baluch. For instance, when the Ghilzai Pashtuns attacked the Hindu villages in the Dera Ismail Khan District, it was the Baluch chief, Sardar Abdur-Rahman Khan, Bhani Kulachi (the chief of the Kolachi tribe) who declared them "Bahut". Under the Baluch code of honour, Bahut is a person or persons who are given asylum by a Baluch and their protection is a sacred duty of the protector. Several families were saved from the pogroms and then eventually migrated to India in 1947 and 1948.

When the Pakistan government demanded "accession" of the Khanate in 1947-48, on the grounds of Islam being the common religion, this act was detested and rejected by the Parliament of the Khanate. Mir Ghaus Bakhsh Bizenjo voiced the Baluch opinion against the religious nationalism of Pakistan: "We are Muslims but it (this fact) did not mean (it is) necessary to lose our independence and to merge with other (nations) because of the Muslim (faith). If our accession into Pakistan is necessary, being Muslim, then Muslim states of Afghanistan and Iran should also merge with Pakistan."

E. Oliver has pointed out that Baluch "has less of God in his head and less of the devil in his nature." According to him, "The Afghan is a dangerous fanatic while the Baluch prefers to have his prayers said for him."

There is an interesting story whish exemplifies the Baluch approach to religion: "Once a Baluch was asked why he did not keep the fast of Ramzan (Ramadan). Replied the Baluch that he was excused, as his chief was keeping it for him." "What are you doing?" asked a practising Muslim about his evening prayers. He was answered: "Praying in the fear of God." Rejoined the Baluch: "Come along to my hills where we don't fear any body." There is a Baluch proverb that "God will not favour a person who does not plunder and rob."

These examples clearly show that the Baluch is completely different from his neighbours like the Pushtun and Punjabi. In the late 19th century, when British authorities asked Baluch and Pushtuns how their civil cases should be decided, the Baluch replied: "Rawaj" (Baluch customary law); the Pushtun answered: "Sharia" (Islamic Law).

In 1947, when the Indian subcontinent suffered under the effects of Muslim-Hindu riots, it was only the Baluch society where Hindu minorities remained untouched and lived in peace; the Baluch were not influenced by their neighbours. Throughout Baluch history, the Baluch people did not fight religious wars against India, with the exception of Nasir Khan the Great, and the factors behind the Baluch invasion of India under Nasir Khan the Great were more economic and political than religious.

Source: The Problem of Greater Balochistan, written by Innayatullah Baloch

Balochistan : Strategic Importance

The strategic importance of Balochistan has had, and still has, a positive and negative effect on Baluch nationalism. Because of its strategic location in the Perso-Oman Gulf, with 700 miles long seacoast, the area has been important to the trade of the West since the rise of the imperialism. Its strategic importance provides an opportunity to the Baluch nationalists to deal with big or superpowers in order to liberate the country. During the "Great Game", the major reason for the occupation of Baluchistan by British was to check the advance of the Russians towards the Baluch coast in the Arabian Sea. During the two World Wars, Britain did not share the occupation of Western Baluchistan with the Russians because of the fear of Russian access to warm waters. In 1928, Britain refuse to recognize the regime of Mir Dost Mohammad Baranzai in Western Baluchistan. because he was alleged to be in contact with the Soviets.

In 1944, General Money, after studying the constitutional position of Baluchistan, favoured its independence. In 1947, Britain opposed the independence of Baluchistan and urged Pakistan to occupy Baluchistan in order to crush the nationalists and anti-imperialist or pro-Soviet forces.


(Source: The Problem of Greater Baluchistan, written by Innayatullah Baluch)

April 12, 2006

Five myths about the nuclear deal

- By Brahma Chellaney

The lack of transparency that surrounded the July 18, 2005 nuclear agreement-in-principle and the subsequent deal-making has come to haunt both sides domestically. But while the US Congress, in open and closed-door hearings, is compelling the administration to provide evidence of tangible gains for America, the Manmohan Singh government faces no public scrutiny of its actions that put irrevocable fetters on India’s most important national asset — the nuclear deterrent.

The texts of various arrangements have come from the US side, with the Indians left to negotiate within the defined framework. The Prime Minister admitted in the Lok Sabha on August 3, 2005 that the July 18 accord’s "final draft came to me from the US side" after he had reached Washington. This, he went on to say, "held up our negotiations for about 12 to 15 hours" because he wanted the "support" of the Atomic Energy Commission chief, who was not in his delegation. Yet, after being summoned to Washington by the first available flight, the AEC chief was presented with a political fait accompli and asked to look merely at the language of the accord.

In similar fashion last week, the Americans handed the visiting Indian foreign secretary the text of what they want as the new bilateral civil nuclear cooperation pact. All the foreign secretary could do was to say that the US text needed "further examination." It is always harder to negotiate when one side dictates the text and confines the other side to a defensive negotiating position centred on a bureaucratic haggle on words.

It is an open secret that the US dictated India’s civil-military separation plan, both by putting forward specific proposals and by orchestrating public pressure. The PM began haughtily, claiming, "It will be an autonomous Indian decision as to what is ‘civilian’ and what is ‘military.’ Nobody outside will tell us what is ‘civilian’ and what is ‘military’." But he ended on a whimper, admitting that the US forced his hand on specific facilities. He told the Lok Sabha on March 10 that rather than place them under international inspections, he "decided to permanently shut down the Cirus reactor in 2010" and dismember Apsara — Asia’s first research reactor — in order to "shift" its fuel core.

For the US, the deal holds multiple benefits — from getting a handle on India’s nuclear-weapons programme and leverage on Indian foreign policy to opening the way to lucrative reactor and arms sales. But for US revelations, the Indian public would not have known some of the commitments made by the PM — from promising to buy "as much as $5 billion" worth of US arms once the deal is implemented (according to a July 18, 2005 Pentagon briefing) to agreeing "to import eight nuclear reactors by 2012," at least two of them from America, as disclosed by Condoleezza Rice in a recent op-ed. Each 1,000-megawatt reactor would cost India at least $1.8 billion — or 2.3 times the annual budget of the entire Indian nuclear power industry.

In addition to giving the US for the first time "a transparent insight into India’s nuclear programme," as Nick Burns puts it, the deal will help Washington oversee "nuclear balance" on the subcontinent. In the words of Burns’ boss, Dr Rice, "the nuclear balance in the region is a function of the political and military situation in the region. We are far more likely to be able to influence those regional dynamics from a position of strong relations with India and indeed with Pakistan."

In fact, Joseph R. Biden, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said he is "probably going to support" the deal because it has "succeeded in limiting the size and sophistication of India’s nuclear weapons programme and nuclear power programme." This is as candid and objective an assessment as any American can offer.

The deal’s foreign-policy implications can be gauged just from the waiver-authority bill’s Section 1(b)(5), which binds India forever to support "international efforts to prevent the spread of enrichment and reprocessing technology." By keeping the Damocles’ sword of waiver termination hanging perpetually over India’s head, the bill attempts to hold New Delhi to strict compliance with US policy towards "countries of proliferation concern" — a category of states for many years at the centre-stage of US foreign policy, with one such nation at present under US occupation and two others on the US hit-list. Section 1(b)(5) will eliminate India’s manoeuvring room with Iran, for example.

After adding eight separate conditions in its waiver bill to hold India to good conduct, the White House is encouraging Congress to attach riders of its own, as long as they do not entail a renegotiation of the deal. The already-inserted clauses — one of which drags India through the backdoor into a treaty rejected by the Senate, the CTBT — farcically attempt to make New Delhi accountable to the US government and legislature. The bill’s test-ban clause actually imposes CTBT-plus obligations on India, tying its hands forever, with no exit option, and using the very phraseology the US opposed in the 1996 CTBT negotiations so as to have the loophole to conduct sub-kiloton and sub-critical tests.

The deal also holds major economic benefits for the US, with Dr Rice voicing hope that it will create "3,000 to 5,000 new direct jobs in the US and about 10,000 to 15,000 indirect jobs in the US" just through nuclear commerce with India. In addition, US arms makers expect major Indian contracts, as underlined on March 2 by the Pentagon’s unusually explicit statement hailing the nuclear deal for opening "promising prospects" for big weapon sales, "whether in the realm of combat aircraft, helicopters, maritime patrol aircraft or naval vessels." Lockheed Martin and Boeing are competing to sell 126 of their F-16s or F/A-18s in a potential $9-billion deal that would be India’s largest arms contract ever.

In sharp contrast, the deal puts India squarely on the debit side of the ledger. There is no credit, only debit, for India on decision-making autonomy, indigenous capability, foreign policy and finance. Deal-related sweeteners will cost it many billions of dollars, as it impoverishes itself by importing uneconomical power reactors and buying arms it can do without. For a nation that budgeted a paltry $160 million for missile work and $425 million for nuclear research and development last year, such costly imports will be good news only for corrupt politicians and those who thrive on commissions and consultancies, including some strategic analysts, former military officers and ex-bureaucrats.

In the absence of concrete benefits they can showcase, the few in India hawking the deal have taken to selling dreams to the country. The main force behind the deal — the PM — has offered the nation only clich├ęs and stock assurances straight from the boilerplate of bureaucratic homily. Each articulated hope sounds more like a wish tied to myth.

l Myth 1: The deal will end India’s "isolation," end discrimination and allow it to take its rightful place on the world stage. Such wishful thinking cannot make dreams come true. If anything, it shows that the PM’s foreign policy is guided not by reality but by the dream world he inhabits. The deal will not end discrimination against India or what the PM calls its "nuclear isolation." There will be no blanket lifting of the nuclear embargo against India. What the US has proposed is limited nuclear commerce with India, tightly regulated by its export-licensing requirements and subject to Indian "good behaviour." India won’t get open access even to natural uranium supply. It will only be able to import externally determined quantities of natural uranium for indigenous reactors under international monitoring.

With or without the deal, India will stay in a third aberrant category — neither a formal nuclear power nor a non-nuclear nation, but a non-NPT state possessing nuclear weapons. The deal will only institutionalise India’s status in the anomalous third category, even as New Delhi accepts NPT norms and extends full support from outside to a troubled regime that won’t accept it as an equal or legitimate nuclear power.

l Myth 2: The way for India to meet its burgeoning energy demands is to import nuclear power reactors. The deal’s very rationale is fundamentally flawed because generating electricity from imported reactors dependent on imported fuel makes little economic or strategic sense. Such imports will be a path to energy insecurity and exorbitant costs. The PM is seeking to replicate in the energy sector the very mistake India has pursued on armaments. Now the world’s largest arms importer, India spends nearly $6 billion dollars every year on weapons imports, many of dubious value, while it neglects to build its own armament-production base. Should a poor India now compound that blunder by spending billions more to import overly expensive reactors when it can more profitably invest that money to commercially develop its own energy sources?

Even if India were to invest a whopping $27 billion dollars to increase its installed generating capacity by 15,000 megawatt through imported reactors, nuclear power will still make up a tiny share of its total electricity production, given that nuclear plants take exceptionally long to complete and the share of other energy sources is likely to rise faster. India could radically transform its energy situation if it were to invest such resources to tap its vast hydropower reserves — a source that comes with no fuel cost — and employ clean-coal and coal-to-liquids technologies to exploit its coal reserves, one of the largest in the world. Instead the PM wants India to subsidise the revival of the decrepit US nuclear power industry, which has not received a single reactor order in more than 30 years. The promise of nuclear power in the US has dimmed because of the unappealing economics of new nuclear plants — a fact the PM turns a blind eye to.

Such is the capital-intensity of a nuclear plant that two-thirds or more of its costs are incurred upfront, before it is even commissioned. And while the international price of coal has dropped over the last two decades, the price of uranium has tripled just in the past 18 months. Yet the itch to import reactors has been so irresistible that the PM signed a deal that actually compromises the defence of India and asks Indian taxpayers to fork out billions of dollars to put the nation firmly on the path to energy insecurity.

Myth 3: Nuclear energy is clean. Official rhetoric has sought to portray nuclear energy as "clean" to help seduce public opinion. The proliferation-resistant light-water reactors (LWRs) that the deal allows India to import generate highly radioactive wastes. Although nuclear-generated power is free of carbon and greenhouse gases, the back-end of nuclear-fuel cycle is anything but clean, posing technological challenges and inestimable environmental costs.

Not only has America refused to adhere to the Kyoto Protocol’s mandatory greenhouse-gas reductions, it persists with its egregiously high discharge of fossil-fuel effluents. With just 4.5 per cent of the world’s population, it emits 23 per cent of the global greenhouse gases. And although India has no obligation under the current Kyoto Protocol to reduce its relatively moderate emissions (it ranks 139 in the world in per capita emissions), the PM wants his developing nation to make up for a wealthy America’s disregard of the global environment. He told Lok Sabha on February 27, 2006: "While we have substantial reserves of coal, excessive dependence on coal-based energy has its own implications for our environment." Put simply, he wants India to import US reactors while the US burns more coal.

Before touting nuclear energy to be clean or seeking to import new US reactors, the least the government can do is to resolve the safety and environmental concerns arising from the accumulating spent-fuel at the US-built Tarapur nuclear plant. The US broke the 1963 civil nuclear cooperation pact with India by amending its domestic law to halt all fuel and spare-parts supplies. In spite of such a bald-faced material breach and the expiry long ago of the 1963 pact, India has continued to exacerbate its spent-fuel problem at Tarapur by granting the US a right it didn’t have even if it had honoured the pact — a veto on any Indian reprocessing of the fuel waste.

l Myth 4: Nuclear energy will reduce India’s oil dependence. The truth is it won’t cut India’s oil imports. India does not use oil to generate electricity. In fact, petroleum is no longer used to propel electric generators in most countries. Even the US now employs only a small percentage of its oil supply to fuel its electricity-generating plants. Only standby generators for homes and offices in India use diesel fuel. Yet the PM has speciously linked the deal to "concomitant advantages for all in terms of reduced pressure on oil prices…"

In any case, India cannot correct its current oil reliance on the Persian Gulf region by fashioning a new dependency on a tiny nuclear-supply cartel made up of a few state-guided firms. While oil is freely purchasable on world markets, the global nuclear reactor and fuel business is the most politically regulated commerce in the world, with no sanctity of contract. Without having loosened its bondage to oil exporters, India is being yoked to the nuclear cartel.

Myth 5: The deal paves the way for removal of all US technology controls against India. The most onerous technology sanctions India has endured for long are not in the nuclear realm but centre on advanced and dual-use technologies. Where export controls against India can be relaxed through executive action, such as on high technology or in the civilian space sector, the US has dragged its feet. But where Congressional action is needed, it has concluded a nuclear deal, wringing a heavy price out of India. This shows that the US will use every export control it has in force as a bargaining chip against India.

Against this background, the PM has been unable to build a political consensus in favour of the deal, although he had publicly declared on July 20, 2005, that "we can move forward only on the basis of a broad national consensus." Spinning reality thus has become the favourite official pursuit, even as millions of dollars are being squandered to lobby US lawmakers to approve a deal that puts qualitative and quantitative ceilings on India’s deterrent. By making India answerable to the US through unique, one-sided obligations, the deal makes a true strategic partnership with the US less likely.

US doesn’t agree BLA are terrorists

Amir Mir
Wednesday, April 12, 2006 22:09 IST

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan government’s decision to ban the Baluchistan Liberation Army (BLA), declaring it a terrorist organisation, has been taken with a pinch of salt by a cross section of the society which believes that such extremist measures would further complicate the Baluchistan mess instead of sorting it out.

After years of being brushed aside as a non entity by the Pakistani security agencies, the elusive BLA has finally been banned, in view of a quantum increase in its ‘anti-state terrorist activities’. The BLA is believed to be spearheaded by Baluch royalist and a member of the Baluchistan Assembly, Balach Marri, the youthful son of veteran nationalist leader, Nawab Kher Baksh Marri. The outfit reportedly operates with a loose structure, with small autonomous cells able to carry out acts on their own without directives from above.

In the past, the Pakistani security forces used to undermine the shadowy group claiming that it exists only on paper, and the establishments response to BLA’s activities remained largely confined to action against tribesmen, who were accused of most of the assaults which had been occurring sporadically since 2000. However, the situation seems to have changed drastically, making the Pakistani interior minister to confess that there is no other movement as aggressive and as militant in Pakistan right now as the BLA.

The long list of charges against the banned outfit includes declaring an open war against the government, carrying out deadly rocket attacks against the security forces, blowing up gas pipelines and railway tracks, killing three Chinese engineers and last but not the least attacking General Pervez Musharraf in the Kohlu area of Baluchitan on December 14, 2005. Since Musharraf was attacked, the province has been wracked by daily acts of sabotage of infrastructure and attacks on the security forces, followed by counter-attacks and operations by the latter.

The ban comes at a time when the situation in Pakistan’s resource-rich but equally poor province is getting out of the government control rapidly. The law and order situation keeps deteriorating amidst a massive military operation against rebel Baluch nationalists, who demand greater political autonomy and a bigger share of the revenue from the province’s huge natural gas reserves, maintaining that they are not reaping the benefits.

Even otherwise, the US does not seem to agree with Islamabad’s characterisation of Baluch insurgents as terrorists. Nor can the context of nationalist demands for greater provincial autonomy and control of the natural resources of the province be ignored when analysing the situation. As things stand, General Musharraf seems blindly to be adhering to the notion that force will sort out the problem. Time will tell, but already there are many in the country who simply refuse to share the government perceptions and warn of bigger troubles to come if a course of political negotiations is not adopted by abandoning the present aggressiveness.

Pakistan : Allied to the problem

Allied to the problem

PERSPECTIVES | Vikram Sood

April 11, 2006


At the end of a French delegation’s visit to Pakistan recently, the Pakistan Foreign Office put out its usual statement. It referred to Pakistan as an anchor of peace in the region and said that the leader of the French delegation, former Premier Senator (Francois) Poncet, had commended Pakistan’s role in promoting peace and stability. One does not know if this is a reflection of Gaul indulgence, Pakistan’s continued self-delusion or simply a Foreign Office sleight of hand. One thing it definitely is, is being elastic with the truth.

Soon after this, US State Department Assistant Secretary Richard Boucher, on a visit to Pakistan, commended America’s stalwart ally for arresting the maximum number of terrorists. But where else would you find the largest number of terrorists anyway? It is like showing surprise at finding kangaroos in Australia.

Since September 11, 2001, General Musharraf’s policy of riding two horses simultaneously — the one for war on terror and the other for supporting jehad — has needed extraordinary equestrian skills. One of the horses is likely to gallop away soon. There are signs of impatience and doubt in the West. Think-tanks like the Carnegie Endowment for Peace have begun to doubt Musharraf’s sincerity and feel that he is exploiting the war on terror for himself. It is not yet known whether the US has realised that Pakistan is part of the problem and not part of the solution. The more optimistic assumption is that there is realisation, but also helplessness, at the moment.

In today’s Pakistan, there are three main harsh realities. First, that the Baloch struggle is not about the three main tribes, the Bugtis, Marris and the Mengals, fighting for the preservation of their Sardari system. The struggle is about basic rights — economic and political — because the revolt is all over Balochistan and not restricted to these three tribal areas. The second reality is that the Waziristan area in the Fata belt, which was the launching pad for many of the campaigns in the jehad against the Soviets in Afghanistan, is today prime Taliban country — and only growing in depth and area. Third, Pakistan is getting ‘jehadised’, ever so incrementally; one may not notice it, but it is.

In Balochistan, there were four incidents on a single day, April 6. Between January and March this year, there were nearly 60 incidents of rocket attacks all over the province and at least 1,600 rockets were fired. In February, gas pipelines were disrupted 21 times, affecting supplies to the rest of the country. Nawab Akbar Bugti is a fugitive in his own province and has not returned to Bugti Fort for months. Akhtar Mengal is constantly harassed and Nawab Khair Bux Marri, along with his two sons, has been slapped with an arms and ammunition case. This is despite the fact that these leaders have from time to time, along with harsh statements, also said that the present struggle is not yet about secession but about provincial rights.

Reactions from Islamabad have been on expected lines — use of indiscriminate and excessive force, artillery, helicopter gun-ships and aircraft included. And finding that an ordinary Baloch was willing to die for the long-standing grievances of greater autonomy, prevention of ethnic identity from being swamped by the Punjabi outsiders, for the removal of military cantonments and a greater share in revenue and development, Pakistani authorities have begun to blame external forces. Iranian authorities, fearing that the US would want to use Balochistan to destabilise their country, may seek to pre-empt that. Pakistan’s military leaders are unable to admit that the hatred for Punjabi dominance is widespread and deep-rooted in the other three provinces. There have been suggestions for the trifurcation of Punjab around Bahawalpur, Multan and Rawalpindi. Thus, apart from solving Baloch problems, Punjab needs to be cut to size if Pakistan has to be saved.

The fear is that attempts to portray the present struggle as the selfish handiwork of a few misguided miscreants and attempts to destroy traditional Baloch society by abolishing the Sardari system without anything else in place, would leave the province in a vacuum to be filled by the Taliban alumni.


Waziristan, with its inhospitable terrain and warlike conservative tribes, the Waziris and Mahsuds, was the ideal launching pad in the jehad against the Soviets in the Paktia and Khost provinces across the border. Today, terrorists fleeing from Afghanistan have made south and north Waziristan their new Taliban country, using it to regroup and relaunch into Afghanistan. About two months ago, Tolo TV channel, run from Kabul by some liberal Afghans, had shown gruesome details of half a dozen bodies being dragged by a jeep through the streets of Mandrakhel. Another scene depicted severed heads and crowds chanting ‘Long live Osama bin Laden’, ‘Long live Mullah Omar’.

The fear is that the Taliban mindset and influence have begun to spread to the ‘settled areas’ of the NWFP. Areas like Darra Adam Khel provide home-made weapons and can turn in upto 400 weapons of varying kinds and calibre in a day. The Taliban are able to move at ease from Karachi to Darra to Peshawar to Quetta and on to Kandahar or Helmund or Jalalabad. Gulbuddin Hikmetyar, the ISI’s blue-eyed boy and now at peace with the Taliban, is back in business.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai has more than once complained to Musharraf about Taliban’s transgressions, but Pakistan’s leaders continue to chase the dream of strategic depth in Afghanistan and are blinded to the fact that this is becoming their nightmare. Pushed to the wall, Pakhtoons of Afghanistan will claim that the Durand Line runs south from Attock along the Indus up to Dera Ismail Khan, while the Pakistanis would want to push this up to Kabul. Therein lie the seeds of future conflict.

Over the years, conventional wisdom has held that the NWFP and Balochistan were the more conservative societies and, therefore, more susceptible to religious fundamentalism, Punjab was the symbol of modernism. This is partially true and partially a myth perpetuated by the Punjabis. Both the Lashkar-e-Tayyeba and the rabid Sunni organisation, the Sipaha-e-Sahaba, have their birthplaces here. The largest number of blasphemy cases were reported from Punjab last year. Musharraf could not go to Lahore in March for the Basant celebrations because the mullahs declared the festival un-Islamic for its Hindu origins. Everyone blames the curriculum of the madrasas as being responsible for churning out jehadis in Pakistan. Yet mainstream schools continue to teach jehad to their students. Attacks on Christians and Ahmediyas have increased.

Waziristan is slipping out of control and of the 80,000 troops deployed earlier to control the situation, some have been diverted to Balochistan. US hi-tech surveillance systems and border teams helping in joint operations along the Afghan-Pakistan border, have been unable to pick up any important al-Qaeda operatives, but the locals move across freely. More troops are needed.

The Pakistani excuse to the Americans is that it cannot divert more troops from the eastern border given the situation with India. The only way this can be done is if Indo-Pak problems from Siachen to Sir Creek are solved, enabling Pakistan to disengage and re-deploy. In the interim, if the US could at least nudge the Indians to at least demilitarise Siachen and Kashmir, it could help in the war on terror.

April 09, 2006

Iranian NuclearWeapons? The Options if Diplomacy Fails

There is no way to know what strategy Iran will choose in the future, or how the international community will respond. Iran's possible efforts to acquire nuclear weapons are an ongoing test of the entire process of arms control and the ability limit nuclear proliferation. At the same time, they raise critical issues about how Iran might use such weapons and the security of the Gulf region -- an area with more than 60% of the world's proven conventional oil reserves and some 37% of its gas.

Iranian acquisition of nuclear weapons is not simply a struggle over issues of national prestige or "rights." It has a major potential impact on regional stability and future war fighting. If Iran does acquire nuclear weapons, it is possible that it will use them largely as a passive deterrent and means of defense. It is also possible, however, that Iran will use them to put direct or indirect pressure on its neighbors, threatening them to achieve goals it could not achieve without the
explicit or tacit threat of weapons of mass destruction.

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