October 21, 2006

Federal police force in the offing

This is one issue that really needs peoples complete support. The supreme court was right in ordering the implemenation of these reforms which are long over due. One of them is the creation of a federal police force that can fight terrorism, gather intelligence and most of all, clip the wings of state CM's and also keep a eye on the corrupt state police forces. Look at how these political mafia is resisting the implementation of the police reforms.

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Law And Order

The Supreme Court has issued directives for sweeping reforms in the police force. But the state governments, in fear of losing control over their fiefdom, are not very keen on implementation.

By Amarnath K. Menon

FUTURE PERFECT: The police force is up for a major overhaul

Come New Year, if the Supreme Court of India has its way, the police in the country are in for a meaningful makeover. The force may finally break free from the stranglehold of their political bosses and function with greater operational autonomy and professionalism.

The court directive recommends sweeping reforms, from restructuring of the entire force to its modernisation and various qualitative changes. The reforms have been long overdue as the profile of the constabulary and lower tiers, accounting for 90 per cent of the force, has changed vastly with more educated men and women joining at this entry level, expecting a satisfying, if not challenging, career. "If professional excellence is to be nurtured, even at the level of the constabulary, working conditions have to be improved," says Andhra Pradesh Director-General of Police Swaranjit Sen. This also calls for a change in the mindset of lower-tier officials that obedience and servility to senior officers and political masters is essential for promotion and better placements.

Though it took a decade for the Supreme Court to decide on the public interest litigation (PIL) seeking reforms in the police system, it has finally ordered a complete clean-up. The three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice of India Y.K. Sabharwal has ordered the cabinet secretary and chief secretaries to implement the directives. It has also asked Solicitor General G.E. Vahanvati to ensure that all file compliance reports are presented to it on January 3.

Unfortunately, the Supreme Court fiat is construed by most states as avoidable intervention by the judiciary in the role of the executive. After a couple of notices and an eight-week time limit, only eight states have responded by filing affidavits and that too opposing the proposed reforms. "While only Orissa favoured the petition, others summarily rejected it," observed Sabharwal while announcing the court's directives. Interestingly, despite recommendations from six national-level and 11 state-level police commissions, little has been done to usher in the reforms.

Clearly, it is not easy to free the police of political meddling. "A beginning has been made to bring accountability in the system," says lawyer Prashant Bhushan, who presented the case for the petitioners-Prakash Singh, a retired DGP of Uttar Pradesh and the NGO Common Cause. "This may well be the end of many aberrations that reduced the police to individual fiefdoms," says Singh.

KEEN ON IT: Manmohan and Patil are pushing for reforms

Mandarins in the North Block, after dragging their feet over the issue since 1981, have in the last two years got their act together at the behest of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Home Minister Shivraj Patil, who are eager about implementing the far-reaching changes. "We have already been seriously working towards police reforms. The court's directive has further strengthened our hands," says Home Secretary V.K. Duggal, "The Government would meet the deadline set by the apex court to implement the recommendations of the various police commissions."

The Home Ministry is keen on creating a federal agency that can investigate cases that have inter-state and international ramifications. Cases with cross-border implications like narcotics, trafficking of women and smuggling of arms are to be handled by what is to be called the Central Intelligence and Investigating Agency. The Central Government can directly ask it to investigate certain cases without the consent of the states.


All states are to constitute a State Security Commission (SSC), a Police Establishment Board and a Police Complaints Authority.
States must ensure that all officers, from the rank of an SP to DGP, hold office, wherever they are posted, for at least two years.

The UPSC will recommend three DGPs for each state out of which one will be selected by the SSC.

Similarly, there will be a National Security Commission to pick the heads of the BSF, CISF, CRPF and the ITBP.

The NHRC, Centre and Bureau of Police Research and Development will consider handing over cases of cross-border offences to the CBI.

Ironically, the court's order came exactly a fortnight after the Police Act Drafting Committee headed by Soli Sorabjee put out for debate the rough draft for a new law to replace the antiquated Indian Police Act of 1861. "The master of the police is the law of the land. Abiding by it is essential to restore confidence in the police," says Sorabjee. The draft Police Act has provisions to check pressure on subordinate officers from their superiors. Critics, however, argue that while it is a positive step, the work of a narrowly-conceived committee is well short of the comprehensive reforms needed.

At the same time, another special committee, constituted in December 2004, has identified 49 recommendations from the numerous reports of different police commissions to bring about drastic changes in the police and policing. It has confined itself to drawing up recommendations that are crucial for improvement in police functioning and the implementation of which would make an immediate impact on the reform process.

Among the shortlisted recommendations are those on which the Supreme Court has issued directives. The other recommendations include the creation of a federal police for internal security, modernisation of police forces, improvement in forensic science and infrastructure, tackling organised crime, tracking economic offences, amending the Identification of Prisoners Act and measures to improve accountability and efficiency at all levels of the police hierarchy.

"While only Orissa favoured the petition (on police reforms), others rejected it."

Duggal has discussed the recommendations with chief ministers to emphasise the urgency of reforms during inter-state council meetings, but the states have not shown any interest or alacrity in implementing them. "We have to make chief ministers understand that the police reforms will improve functioning in the long term and remove any apprehensions that they may have on the proposed changes," says Kamal Kumar, director, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel National Police Academy, Hyderabad, and member secretary of the special recommendations committee.

For kickstarting the reform process, urgent action on the part of chief ministers is needed. But there is little as many of them feel that the reforms are intended to clip their wings. While the implementation may take time owing to fierce political opposition, at least a beginning has been made in transforming a decadent colonial police into a people-friendly modern force.

Nuclear North Korea: Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon

Co-authored by Cynical Nerd and Jaffna


Not much is known about the North Korean nuclear test. The international perspectives tend to represent an American point of view. This only serves to confuse the issue and mislead public opinion.

The Bush administration’s foreign policy appears to be unraveling on multiple fronts with North Korea’s testing of the atomic device and Iran’s threat to develop enriched uranium. Having invested his entire political capital on Afghanistan and Iraq, relying on allies of dubious value such as Pakistan, Bush has lost the international wherewithall to act in the unfolding situation which is singularly menacing to western interests. The Taleban has returned with renewed vigor while the turmoil in Iraq shows no sign of ending. North Korea and Iran continue to challenge the United States.

North Korea tested a nuclear device on October 9 making it the eight country in the world to do so. The United States is unable to launch military strikes against Pyongyang. There are hundreds of North Korean artillery and mortar shells situated about an hour’s drive from the sprawling metropolis of Seoul across the DMZ. Any American attack (on the lines of what Israel did in Lebanon) would lead to retaliatory North Korean strikes on both Japan and South Korea, key allies of the United States in East Asia. North Korea has the fifth largest military in the world today. Attacks on Japan and South Korea would only serve to benefit China, a long term competitor to the United States. The American toehold in the Far East would then be destabilized.

China, Japan and South Korea collectively hold close to US $2 trillion in U.S. securities. A military confrontation and the localized turmoil would impact upon the United States economy. Japan and South Korea would likely plunge into recession. Japanese news report indicate that the United States is believed to have only sent Patroiot Advanced Capability 3 anti-ballistic missile batteries to its base in Okinawa. The United States could do no more than to push through rather tame sanctions through the United Nations Security Council!

The Republican Administration in Washington is similarly constrained from acting in Iran given the impact that this would have on world petroleum prices, recession in the United States and the destabilization of the Persian Gulf with deleterous consequences to US allies such as Bahrain, Kuwait, Sa’udi Arabia, Qatar and the UAE.

The strategic balance of power in East Asia has momentarily tilted in a manner that is not in the interests of the United States. Russia, China and now North Korea have nuclear capability. This impacts on the western pacific. China could well leverage North Korea as a pressure point to hurt US interests without suffering the consequences itself - much like what it did in sponsoring Pakistan’s nuclear program to contain India. Japan is under threat and is likely to revisit its pacifist post war constitution.

India under the short-sighted leadership of Manmohan Singh lacks a policy on how to respond to a fluid international environment. It has reduced itself to an American client state jettisoning its national interests in the realm of defence technology, nuclear weapons and foreign policy in a context where the United States has been an unreliable ally.

The Fateful Triangle: China, Pakistan and North Korea

Evidence indicates that North Korea helped Pakistan develop short and medium range missile technology capable of carrying nuclear warheads. The Ghauri and Hatf missiles are based on the Korean Nodong and Taepodong prototypes. China had helped Pakistan in the development of nuclear technology. In return, Pakistan’s chief nuclear scientist A.Q Khan stands accused of sharing Pakistan’s nuclear expertise with countries such as Iran, Libya and North Korea.

A.Q. Khan visited North Korea on several occasions and supplied the North Koreans with the designs and material for uranium enrichment and nuclear weapons. Khan’s travels followed a visit undertaken by Pakistan’s then Army Chief, General Jehangir Karamat, to Pyongyang in 1997. Unconfirmed reports suggest that North Korea might even have tested a nuclear device in Pakistan in 1998 as Pakistan had done in China’s Lop Nor desert in the early 1990s. The United States turned a blind eye to these developments while India found itself under nuclear threat.

General Musharraf asserts that Pakistan could not have shared technology to North Korea since its weapons were based on highly-enriched uranium whereas Pyongyang had exploded a plutonium device. But Pakistan did pursue plutonium production capabilities in the 1990s as evidenced by the Khusab Research Reactor in Johorabad.

An U.S. congressional report, headed by Rep. Christopher Cox, had alleged in May 1999 that China had systematically stolen detailed blueprints for virtually all the nuclear warheads in the US arsenal including the neutron bomb. China was quick to respond that it has developed the technology to build a neutron bomb in 1988 itself. It argued that it had conducted its final nuclear test in 1996 before signing the CTBT.

While the evidence is still unclear, one can not rule out the strategic relevance of China and Pakistan to North Korea’s nuclear program.

The Confucian Bomb

Anglo-Saxon ’analysts’ tend to argue that the North Korea’s test failed to achieve it’s full potential though no one is sure as to the yield of the weapon tested. These are the same sources that cast doubt on India’s Pokhran nuclear tests in ‘98. This appears to be a face-saving bluff since the CIA with its US$44 billion budget is unable to assess North Korea’s actual nuclear capability. The sole superpower with vast military and technological resources was unable to prevent an impoverished, isolated and decrepit regime from pursuing Weapons of Mass Destruction while foolhardedly invading Iraq on spurious of grounds despite other ominous threats on the horizon.

While the seismographic data from South Korea, France and the United States suggest that the Korean test was a sub-kilo ton explosion (equivalant to less than 1000 tons of TNT explosion), a Russian military official estimated it to be between 5 kT-15 kT. A Chinese source reportedly close to the North Korean administration had termed it a neutron bomb explosion.

A neutron bomb is a sophisticated and specialised thermonuclear weapon which produces a minimal blast but releases large amounts of lethal radiation. It is designed to kill people while minimising damage to property unlike a conventional nuclear missile. The evidence is murky and the jury is still out. There does not appear to be evidence of high levels of radiation. The analysis is therefore based on incomplete information given the conflicting reports emerging in the aftermath of the nuclear test.

Impact India

The threat to India lies in the fact that North Korea is an impoverished state that is desperately in need of hard cash. It could well sell its nuclear technology to Islamist fundamentalist groups with devastating effect. This would impinge upon India’s security.

India should not barter away its nuclear autonomy under any pretext be it the proposed Indo-American nuclear deal, the Fissile Material Cut Off Treaty or the Comprehensive Test Bank Treaty. It needs the nuclear option. New Delhi should jettison the proposed Indo-American nuclear deal unless better terms are negotiated.

This said, India does not stand to lose by the North Korean tests per se. This is America’s immediate problem, not India’s. The United States expended much effort to roll back India’s nuclear program, throw open Indian nuclear installations to IAEA inspections and cap India’s production of fissile material, all under the alleged garb of meeting India’s energy needs. It did noting to contain Chinese and Pakistan-sponsored nuclear proliferation. The United States in fact offered state-of-the-art F-16 missile technology to Pakistan and declared that country a major non-NATO ally! Manmohan Singh was inept to buy such a flawed deal to begin with.

Manmohan Singh had endorsed a nuclear deal with the United States that would only have compromised India’s long term strategic interests in the face of a Chinese-sponsored nuclear proliferation. Let the flawed NPT regime collapse and let a new one be negotiated where India would be recognized for what it is - a responsible nuclear power in its own right!

The current nuclear regime, much like the UN, is an outdated framework suited to the geo-political reality of the 1970s. The world has changed since then and it is time to rethink the international non-proliferation regime. The North Korean test is to be welcomed in that regard since it forces the west to rethink its skewed priorities without any immediate cost to India’s extended strategic environment.

Over to you readers for your observations and reflections!


Given the anticipated work load in the next 5 weeks, we would be quiet on the blog front. We return with renewed vigor in late November. Until then, an exuberant Deepavali in advance.

Exclusive: Iran Will Follow North Korea

Tashbih Sayyed
Author: Tashbih Sayyed
Source: The Family Security Foundation, Inc.
Date: October 17, 2006

Since North Korea has shown a true dedication to gaining nuclear weapons capabilities, many in the international security world have begun wondering, “who’s next?” FSM Contributing Editor Tashbih Sayyed thinks it’s Iran, and in Part I of this week’s article, he talks about the implications this has for the future.

Iran Will Follow North Korea, Part I
Tashbih Sayyed
October 17, 2006

Just like India and Pakistan, North Korea is now a nuclear power. Iran will soon join the club. The irony is that it seems that nobody can do anything about it. The direction in which things are moving suggest that the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty will soon be a thing of the past as more and more of its members will choose not to fulfill their obligations under Article VI of the Treaty to engage in good faith efforts to achieve nuclear disarmament.

Experts are certain that sooner or later Japan and South Korea will reconsider their nuclear options and as soon as Iran detonates its own nuclear devise, Turkey and Saudi Arabia will also jump in the fray. According to Los Angeles Times, Brazil has recently inaugurated a uranium enrichment program and several other countries including Argentina and South Africa are on the verge of beginning theirs. The report says that Australia, which has large supplies of natural uranium, is also considering an enrichment program. http://www.latimes.com/news/pr

One of the reasons for this rush to join the nuclear club is the collapse of the security arrangements that had kept the world in balance all throughout the Cold War. Almost all of the developing and underdeveloped nations were part of one defense pact or the other. Even the so called non-aligned nations found a way to exploit the super power rivalry to protect their security interests. But as the Supreme Soviet lost its moorings and the United States of America emerged as the sole super power, the need for various security pacts or a defense treaties also disappeared.

Now every country finds itself alone and responsible for its own defenses. Pakistan, a traditional participant in most of the U.S. sponsored regional defense arrangements, does not enjoy the security of South Asian Treaty Organization (SEATO), Central Treaty Organization (CENTO) or Regional Cooperation for Development (RCD) in the post cold war world. India, its arch rival, on the other hand, that had always championed the causes of non-Align movement is the closest strategic partner of the U.S. Iran, another Cold War ally of the U.S. is now run by a regime that has a totally fascist agenda based on its anti-American and anti-Semitic ideology. It has to find a way to be able to continue challenging the Judeo-Christian powers.
Similarly many of the Warsaw Pact nations also find themselves defenseless and exposed in a world without the Soviet Union. Some countries in the Middle East like Syria, Iraq and Egypt that found it convenient to side with Moscow are still struggling to make sense of the changed world. Gone are the days when their governments could play Washington against Moscow. Now whether they like it or not there is only one super power and they will have to deal with it. And most of these countries do not like it. They are afraid and feel insecure. And the signals coming out of Washington have not helped much.

U.S. declaration that it intends to expand the scope of circumstances under which nuclear weapons could be used, exasperated the situation. The Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) broadened potential nuclear targets to include Iraq, Iran, North Korea, Libya, Syria, China and Russia. According to William M. Arkin in the Los Angeles Times (“Secret Plan Outlines the Unthinkable,” 3/10/01), the US planed to use nuclear weapons in what would formerly have been conventional missions. The NPR specifically stated that the U.S. will consider using nuclear weapons against China in a military confrontation over Taiwan, nuking Iraq should that country attack Israel or another country, launching a nuclear attack against North Korea should it attack South Korea and using nukes in the Arab-Israeli conflict. The Nuclear Posture Review also declared that the US may use nuclear weapons in retaliation for a non-nuclear attack, or “in the event of surprising military developments.” According to Arkin, “officials are looking for nuclear weapons that could play a role in the kinds of challenges the United States faces with Al Qaeda.”

According to NPR, in addition to broadening the potential use of nuclear weapons, WAsington planed to more fully integrate nuclear forces in conventional warfare and intended sweeping upgrades for the US nuclear arsenal. The NPR included plans to modify conventional cruise missiles, along with the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, to carry nuclear warheads. It also called for the development of “bunker busters,” nuclear weapons that would be used in conventional conflict to destroy underground complexes. The NPR called for more resources to be dedicated to upgrading the US nuclear weapons infrastructure, in order to further develop, produce, and test nuclear weapons. http://www.peace-action.org

Countries like Pakistan, Iran, and North Korea have long nursed a fear that the U.S. is bent upon making them subservient to its “hegemonic” agenda. They sincerely believed that the only way to save themselves from being blackmailed, threatened and attacked by Judeo-Christian and capitalistic powers is to develop their own nuclear capability. For them the acquisition of the weapons of mass destruction was not a luxury but a necessity weapon for self defense. And the messages that were conveyed by documents like the Nuclear Posture review confirmed their apprehensions. That’s why they could not be stopped from pursuing their nuclear programs.

Consequently, as the situation exists today, it is very hard to convince any country not to pursue its own nuclear project. And the fact that the development of nuclear weapons is much cheaper than acquiring the conventional ones complicates the situation drastically. Nuclear weapons are basically poor nation’s weapons – they cost less and are easy to develop.

Another factor that encouraged the poor nations to believe that they can succeed in owning the nuclear bomb without any hindrance from outside was the absence of an agency with adequate authority to enforce the Nuclear Proliferation Treaty (NPT) on them. There were states that detonated their nuclear devises and were not punished in a manner that could have served as deterrence for others. The best examples of such states is that India and Pakistan.
So here we are. Another country has gate crashed the nuclear party and many others are in line. The most important question is whether some of the new members of the nuclear club will transfer nuclear assets to the non-state entities? This is not an ordinary question but an existential one. The world has to find the answer if it wants to survive this crisis.

Read more about the nuclear powers in part two of this article, due out later in the week.

Exclusive: Iran Will Follow North Korea - Part II
Tashbih Sayyed, Ph.D.
Author: Tashbih Sayyed, Ph.D.
Source: The Family Security Foundation, Inc.
Date: October 20, 2006

Since North Korea has shown a true dedication to gaining nuclear weapons capabilities, many in the international security world have begun wondering, “who’s next?” FSM Contributing Editor Tashbih Sayyed thinks it’s Iran, and in Part II of this week’s article, he talks about Iran’s impact on terrorist organizations and the implications this has for the future.
Iran Will Follow North Korea- Part II
Tashbih Sayyed, Ph.D.
October 20, 2006

The possibility of nuclear weapons falling into the hands of non-state entities like Hezbollah and Al-Qaeda is very real as most of the new nuclear powers are either already under the control of such absolutist and religious fascist regimes (North Korea and Iran) or are likely to be run by religious fanatics in near future who have close relationships with the terrorist organizations like Al-Qaeda, Japanese Red Army, Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, the United Wa State Army and their ilk. Being undemocratic, unstable, and poor they are usually dependent on mechanisms that do not bode well for the regional and global stability.

As these countries, Pakistan, North Korea, Iran, Egypt and Saudi Arabia are inherently incoherent and suffer from internal strife and contradictions. Their civil and military institutions are always susceptible to sabotage and subversive activities which makes it more likely that one day their nuclear assets may fall into the hands of such elements that are sympathetic to one or the other extremist or terrorist network. These internal difficulties make it impossible for these countries to have an adequate system to safeguard their nuclear materials and weapons.

The ongoing insurgency in Pakistan’s province of Baluchistan and the most recent coup attempt by Islamists belonging to Pakistan Air force has underlined these inherent weaknesses. Often it is only one man that stands between false stability and a certain chaos in countries like Pakistan and Egypt. And generally it is only a matter of time before a Khomeini or a terrorist group like Hamas succeeds in toppling the tin soldiers on which the free world has historically been putting all of its bets.

Regimes that lack popular support always maintain direct or indirect relations and contacts with regional and international terrorist groups and networks like Al-Qaeda and Japanese Red Army. These outfits are committed to acquire nuclear weapons of one kind or the other for the advancement of their terrorist goals.

Al-Qaeda, according to an exhaustive review of documents discovered in 2004 in Afghanistan, was building a serious weapons program with a heavy emphasis on developing a nuclear device. “I don’t have any doubt that al Qaeda was pursuing nuclear, biological and chemical warfare capabilities. It’s not our judgment at the moment that they were that far along, but I have no doubt that they were seeking to do so,” U.S. Undersecretary of State John Bolton had told CNN. “It underlines just how serious the threat of the use of these weapons of mass destruction could be, and why it’s such an important part of the global campaign against terrorism.” http://archives.cnn.com/2002/US

North Korea, Pakistan and Iran all have been working with Al-Qaeda at different levels. Al-Qaeda is known to have penetrated in all the branches of Pakistan’s armed forces and enjoys an undisputed popularity among the masses in the Islamic republic. That’s why many experts believe that Al-Qaeda will one day have its hands on the nuclear material. The fear is that Al-Qaeda may succeed in acquiring discarded nuclear power plant fuel rods to make a dirty bomb (Radiological dispersal weapon) much sooner than expected. A dirty bomb, according to experts, would not create a nuclear explosion, but instead would blow radioactive debris over a wide area, rendering it uninhabitable. http://archives.

Pakistan, which has helped in the creation of Al-Qaeda and Taliban, is the best example of how an undemocratic and poor state can use it’s newly acquired nuclear know how and armament industry to get funds and other military technology. In 1990 when the United States of America suspended it’s military and humanitarian assistance to Pakistan after a decade long close economic and military relationship, Islamabad felt cheated and deemed it justified to sell it’s nuclear know how and other military hard and software to other countries.
Quarters close to the Pakistan’s military and civil establishment know for a fact that it was not just the greedy scientists but country’s military establishment itself that traded its nuclear know how and even the equipment to make nuclear weapons for money, missiles and missile technology to countries like North Korea, Iran and Libya.

Being isolated, impoverished, and hard pressed for cash, Pyongyang too has used its ballistic missiles, conventional weapons, nuclear technology and even know how as a cash crop. Since the early 1990s, when its economy collapsed, North Korea has pursued trade with such states as Angola, Burma, Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Pakistan, and Syria as its only means of earning hard currency. Most of the trade involves arms, chemical and biological weapons materials, and even ballistic missile technology.

More than a dozen countries in Asia, Africa and the Middle East have bought the military goods from Pyongyang. The communist regime has sold components that could be part of biological or chemical weapons. And experts have no doubt that it will sell its nuclear weapons also to any interested party. “The North Korean regime is willing to sell anything that makes money,” warns a former high-ranking North Korean official who defected to South Korea. “If they could produce enough plutonium and uranium to sell, there is absolutely no doubt they would do it.” http://www.time.com

North Korea has been on the U.S. Department of State’s list of states supporting international terrorism since 1988, following the 1987 bombing of a South Korean airliner by North Korean agents that killed over a hundred people. According to the U.S. State Department’s annual Pattern of Global Terrorism report for 2000, North Korea has links with terror organizations, has sold arms to these groups directly and indirectly, and continues to harbor several Red Army hijackers of a Japanese Airlines flight en route to North Korea in the 1970s.
The State Department’s 1999 report stated that North Korea had links with Osama bin Laden. North has sold weapons to such terrorist groups as the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam and the United Wa State Army, a drug-trafficking group active in the Burmese sector of the golden triangle (Laos, Burma, and Thailand).In addition to supplying terrorist organizations, North Koreans have been seen training in the terrorist camps in Afghanistan.http://www.heritage.org/Research/AsiaandthePacific/BG1503.cfm
Abdul Qadeer Khan, the Pakistani scientist who confessed in 2004 to running an illegal nuclear market, had close connections with North Korea, trading in equipment, facilitating international deals for components and swapping nuclear know-how. Former CIA Director George Tenet testified before Congress that North Korea had shown a willingness “to sell complete systems and components” for missile programs that have allowed other governments to acquire longer-range missiles.

And then there is the question of whether these countries are capable of putting in place a system of adequate control over their nuclear assets. The disintegration of the Soviet Empire has already brought the world face to face with the specter of rampant nuclear proliferation, fueled by leakages of fissile material from increasingly insecure stockpiles. “Indeed, thefts of nuclear and radioactive materials, propelled by deteriorating economic and security conditions in the nuclear complex have surged in the former Soviet Union since the early 1990s. Most incidents of nuclear theft and smuggling have been militarily innocuous, involving radioactive junk (such as low-grade uranium, cesium-137 or cobalt-60) that is useless in making fissile weapons. However, some 15 to 20 seizures of weapons-usable plutonium and highly-enriched uranium (HEU) have been recorded internationally in the past decade, and U.S. policymakers must contemplate the possibility that—as with other illegally traded commodities—what was seized is only a small fraction of what has been circulated through smuggling channels. http://www.bu.edu/globalbeat/nuclear/FPRI042701.html

In view of these developments the world will have to devote its time and energies to come up with some mechanism to prevent the falling of these nuclear weapons into the hands of non-state entities like Al-Qaeda, Hezbollah and Hamas. The new generation of nuclear powers, for sure, neither do posses a sufficient knowledge or expertise to be able to prevent an even a partial breakdown of command and control systems that protect nuclear weapons and weapons-grade nuclear materials. Some of these states like Pakistan, North Korea and Iran will even have an interest in sharing their nuclear resources with other states for short term monetary and strategic gains.

Some of the nations that need to be concerned about this development are Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Israel.

As far as Israel is concerned the North Korean test has brought Iran - a country that has made no secrets of its commitment to destroy the Jewish state – many steps closer to have its own weapon of mass destruction. Iran knows just like North Korea knew that the U.S. and its allies cannot do anything to prevent it from crossing the nuclear threshold except issuing threats. India and Pakistan had proved before and North Korea has confirmed now that empty threats cannot deter any outlaw state from obtaining the bomb.

In fact Iran has many more reasons to be fearless in pursuing its agenda. It is not as isolated as the communist regime in Pyongyang is and it has the resources to carryout its agenda. It is financially strong, scientifically advanced and politically much more ambitious than North Korea. North Korea’s entry into the coveted nuclear club is in fact manna from heaven for Tehran. And Iran’s entry into the nuclear club will indirectly arm the terrorists like Hezbollah and Hamas with the dreaded weapons of mass destruction.

Tehran desperately needs the nuclear status. Its dream of becoming a regional super power and an undisputed leader of the Muslim world is hinged on it. To outmaneuver its Arab competitors like Saudi Arabia and Egypt, it has to prove to the Muslim street that it has the means to wipe the Jewish state off the world map - its declared plan.

Pakistan, along with North Korea, will play a very critical role in helping Tehran acquire the bomb. No body can deny that what has been detonated in North Korea is based on the drawings provided by Pakistan and the new gained experience will now reach Tehran. Pyongyang and Tehran have already been working very closely on the building of a nuclear delivery system and the construction of deep underground concrete bunkers. It is a common knowledge that North Koreans have supplied to Tehran launching platforms which could reach Europe and certainly Israel.

According to an Associated Press report, Israel’s cabinet minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer said the North Korean test could indirectly increase the threat to Israel. According to APP, Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, Dan Gillerman, said the widespread concern sparked by the North Korean test could motivate the world body to take a tougher stand on Iran. “My feeling is that this test and the international climate of opinion may gives us some hope that also on the Iranian issue we shall see more determined activity by the Security Council,” he told Israel’s Channel 2 TV. “The world to a large extent understands what is happening today with North Korea and its nuclear activity; what Iran is about to do could be much worse, much more frightening and much more dangerous.”

Iran understands that in view of the North Korean test, the world will be more determined to stop it from reaching its nuclear goal. And it has planned its moves accordingly. It has already launched a propaganda campaign in the Muslim world to convince the Muslim masses that the U.S. efforts to prevent it from gaining nuclear capability are driven by its anti-Islam crusade and a policy of empowering Israel.

Mullahs in Tehran are also trying to exploit the wide spread and growing anti Americanism in the Muslim world to ward off the free world’s anti-nuclear moves by casting them as a crusade against Islam. To cash on the Muslim anti-Semitism, Iran is following a policy of projecting all U.S. anti-proliferation actions as moves to strengthen Israel’s position viz a viz its Arab neighbors. Gen. Mohammad Ebrahim Dehghani, a top Revolutionary Guards commander said in May, 2006, that Israel would be Iran’s first retaliatory target if attacked by the United States. “We have announced that whenever America does make any mischief, the first place we target will be Israel,” Dehghani said.

Addressing a wider audience of world wide anti-Semites and traditional anti-Americans, Gholam-Hossein Elham, an Iranian government spokesperson said that “the dismantling of nuclear arms in the Middle East must begin with the Zionist entity.” Elham said the ban to use weapons of mass destruction should be imposed globally. “A just balance would remove these (nuclear) threats, and the conquering regime from Jerusalem should be the first in the region to disarm,” he said.

Most of Iran’s military preparations in the recent past have been directed at Israel like for instance its Shahab-3 ballistic missile which is now operational and can reach Israel. At the time of declaring the missile operational, Iran’s Defense Minister Ali Shamkhrani had claimed that Iran was now “ready to confront all regional (Israeli) and extra-regional (American) threats.”

But the world will have to realize, sooner or later that Iran is an existential threat to the whole civilized world and not just to Israel. It will have to act now before it is too late.

IRAN : A Secret Regional Alliance Against Iran

IRAN : A Secret Regional Alliance Against Iran

Paris based Intelligence Online has reported that "it has learned from diplomatic sources that Israel and four Sunni Moslem countries - Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Turkey - decided last month to form a regional intelligence alliance to counter Iran both with regards its attempts to build a nuclear weapon and its efforts to create a “Shi’ite Crescent” stretching from Tehran to Beirut."

October 15, 2006

The Baloch jirga : Start of the collapse of Pakistan

The Baloch jirga

By Rahimullah Yusufzai

The most significant backlash of the killing of Nawab Mohammad Akbar Shahbaz Khan Bugti at the hands of the Pakistan Army in August has been the revival of the traditional Baloch national jirga. The jirga’s success or failure could in the long run impact the future of the Baloch people and define afresh their relationship with the federal state of Pakistan.

The killing of Nawab Bugti, 79 years old and ailing, has had other after-effects as well. There were protests all over the country and the demonstrations turned violent in Balochistan causing an estimated loss of Rs500 million. Almost every political party condemned the incident and even ruling PML-Q politicians expressed concern over the consequences of the tragic death of the Baloch tribal chief. For the first time a considerable number of Punjabi political activists and members of the intelligentsia criticised the Punjab-dominated military and federal government for eliminating a politician from a small province. Legislators from one Baloch-centred party, BNP (Mengal), resigned their seats from the National Assembly and Balochistan Assembly in a bid to expose the irrelevance and powerlessness of elected forums in presence of the all-powerful and uniformed President General Pervez Musharraf.

However, the holding of the grand jirga of Baloch tribal chiefs at its traditional venue in Kalat on September 21 could turn out to be the most important after-effect of the killing of Nawab Bugti. The last such event was held 130 years ago in 1878. The host was Mir Khudaidad Khan, the then Khan of Kalat who as the Beglar Begi, sardar of the sardars in Balochi language, exercised real power and enjoyed lot of respect. The present Khan of Kalat, Mir Suleman Dawood, has no power and is little known outside Balochistan. But he has made himself relevant to the Baloch tribal politics by hosting the jirga in his native Kalat and managing to bring together more than 70 Baloch sardars not only from Balochistan but also Sindh and Punjab. The NWFP wasn’t represented although some Baloch also reside in its southern Dera Ismail Khan district.

Then there is the Baloch diaspora doing rather well in the Gulf states, particularly in Oman, and also making its presence felt in western countries. The organisers of the grand jirga would obviously be keen to involve the scattered Baloch in its scheme of things by offering them representation in the three forums that were created in the subsequent jirga held on October 2 in Quetta. One is the authoritative supreme council headed by Khan of Kalat and including chief of Sarawan, Nawab Aslam Raisani, chief of Jhalawan, Sardar Sanaullah Zehri, chief of Bairak, Nawab Shahwani, and former Balochistan chief ministers Nawab Zulfiqar Ali Magsi and Sardar Akhtar Mengal.

The second forum is the jirga’s national council in which every Baloch sardar, big and small, would be a member. The third is the grand national council, which would meet once a year in the royal court of Khan of Kalat and give representation to all Baloch sardars and politicians, intellectuals, lawyers, labourers and students. By giving representation to the commoners among the Baloch, the tribal chiefs have cleverly tried to deflect criticism that their jirga is a club of privileged men with vested interest.

Those attending the jirga espoused different political and ideological causes and some of them couldn’t even communicate in Balochi or Brahvi, the original mother tongues of the Baloch people. But the pride of being Baloch prompted them to gather in Kalat to discuss the grave challenges facing the Baloch people and make decisions to protect their interest in the fast-changing world. It is not always possible to keep the spirit of such forums alive and sustain their relevance, more so if the participants have been espousing different political goals and still retain membership of often rival parties.

However, the fear among the Baloch that their status as the majority ethnic group in their Balochistan homeland was under threat could still ensure the longevity of the Baloch national jirga. Disaffection among the Baloch was already on the rise due to their belief that Balochistan’s bountiful natural resources were being exploited by the federal government to their disadvantage. The killing of Nawab Bugti and the humiliating manner in which he was hastily buried under government supervision in absence of his kith and kin accentuated the feelings of disaffection and created an opportunity for the Baloch sardars to revive their almost obsolete traditional jirga.

The most important decision of the jirga was to seek legal advice for approaching the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to protest the violation of the “autonomy pact” under which the accession of the independent state of Kalat with Pakistan was finalised on March 31, 1948. The jirga’s declaration was to move the court as an oppressed nation against the state and rulers of Pakistan for not honouring the pact, which promised autonomy to Kalat in all matters except defence, foreign affairs and communication. Copies of the pact distributed among jirga members showed that it was signed by Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah and the then Khan of Kalat, Mir Ahmad Yar Khan. The Baloch nationalist politicians and intellectuals have for long interpreted this pact as an agreement between two sovereign status on the basis of equality but it is the first time that a grand gathering of Baloch sardars and likeminded groups and individuals have publicly endorsed it and opted to take up the matter at the international level.

It is not the first time that disaffected Pakistanis have threatened to take their grievances to world forums. The MQM leadership made similar threats after military operations targetting the Urdu-speaking Muhajirs in Sindh. In the past, representatives of other smaller nationalities residing in Pakistan too have threatened to do the same. The issue of the Bengalis was internationalised following the military operation in East Pakistan in 1971 and eventually led to Indian military intervention and creation of Bangladesh. Balochistan has suffered five military operations and the last one is still on. It will, therefore, be hardly surprising if the issue of denial of Baloch rights finds mention at the world stage. The matter will no doubt be internationalised if the Baloch national jirga manages to seek the attention of international forums such as the ICJ and the UN in future.

Old pacts such as the one concerning Kalat would have difficulty finding relevance in the present state of geo-politics. Pakistan has sufficient international standing and support of world powers to pre-empt an intrusion by the ICJ and UN in its affairs. But the mention of such matters at the world stage could still be embarrassing. It would show Pakistan, already known as a politically unstable state beset with problems of law and order, in bad light. The ideal way to counter the impression that Pakistan is an oppressive state unable to ensure justice to its ethnic minorities is to politically engage the disaffected sections of the population and stop using force to subdue them. If that were to happen, the Baloch would not think of looking beyond the border of Pakistan to seek their rights.

The writer is an executive editor of The News International based in Peshawar. Email: bbc@pes.comsats.net.pk

Venue of grand Jirga still undecided


ISLAMABAD: The venue of a grand Jirga, or assemblage, of Balochistan tribal chieftains, which President Pervez Musharraf would preside over next month, is yet to be decided.

It would be either Islamabad or Quetta, an official told this correspondent. However, he said, its holding in the federal capital would not send out a good message. He said the president was being counselled to chair the Jirga in Quetta.

Musharraf recently talked about holding a representative gathering of tribal chiefs of Balochistan to listen to them on what official measures are needed to radically improve the situation in their province and end discontentment.

Invitations are unlikely to be issued to chieftains confronting or criticising the government. All guests would be supporters of the government.

However, the official effort is to wean away maximum number of tribal heads, who had attended two Jirgas, hosted by the Khan of Qalat, Mir Dawood, in the wake of killing of Nawab Akbar Bugti in a military operation in Kohlu mountains on August 31.

Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz’s just concluded short visit to Quetta where he announced a hefty development package for Balochistan was a precursor of Musharraf’s subsequent effort.

One of the major objectives of holding the Jirga is to blunt effects of the declaration, made by the gathering organised by Mir Dawood. Most alarming was its announcement to approach the International Court of Justice to review Baloch Sardars’ decision to be part of Pakistan when the country was created. As Bugti’s killing caused a widespread sympathy wave for him, different Baloch nationalist parties sprang into action to cash in on his death. It also whipped up a sense of alienation that was exploited by a set of nationalists.

Military sacrosanct, says Durrani

Says criticism of armed forces not allowed; nationalists to be brought into mainstream

By Azfar-ul-Ashfaque

KARACHI: Minister for Information and Broadcasting Muhammad Ali Durrani on Sunday said the government would not allow any criticism on the armed forces of Pakistan, as the institutions responsible for the country’s defence are beyond any criticism.

In a threatening tone, the minister made it clear that the government would not tolerate any criticism on the solidarity of Pakistan and the institutions responsible for defending the country’s geographical boundaries. “According to the Constitution any criticism on the solidarity of Pakistan and its armed forces is not allowed,” he said while speaking at an Iftar-dinner hosted by him here.

Durrani, however, welcomed all criticism of the government and said positive criticism by the media provides an ample opportunity to the government to correct itself. When asked as to how criticism on the Army is avoided especially when it was virtually governing the country, he reluctantly said the government welcomed all positive criticism.

Replying to a question about highlighting corruption in organisations being controlled by the armed forces, he said: “No individual is beyond accountability.” Durrani said the ruling Pakistan Muslim League (PML) would expand its coalition base by taking nationalists and regional parties into its fold so that the smaller groups could also play their due role in mainstream politics in the next general election.

“The government wants to bring the nationalist and regional parties of Sindh, Balochistan and the NWFP into the mainstream, and the PML wants to play its due role by taking them into its fold for the 2007 general election,” Durrani added.

He said the government firmly believes that stronger provinces guarantee stronger Pakistan. He said the sense of deprivation among the smaller federating units could be removed only through dialogue, and the government is committed to develop a national consensus to make them progress and prosper.

Durrani told newsmen that after Ramazan, all nationalists and regional groups would be contacted through a strong process and an effective strategy would be devised to develop a national consensus.

The minister said a parliamentary committee headed by Senator Waseem Sajjad has representation of all regional and nationalist parties. He emphasised the need for full participation to prepare a report of recommendations about concurrent list and provincial autonomy.

He said till the 2007 general election the ruling PML would play a major role in bringing maximum number of nationalists and regional groups in the mainstream politics. “For broadening its political base as well as existing coalition, the PML would take all regional groups into its fold and form a coalition for the next election,” he added.

He assured that the next general election would be free, fair and impartial and the government would invite international observers to monitor the polls. He hoped that the people would vote for continuity of the policies of President Pervez Musharraf and the present government.

Durrani said the present coalition is very much intact and there is no issue between any of the coalition partner. “This coalition will work till the next election and after the polls, the same coalition will continue serving people of this country and we will expand it further,” he added.

He evaded direct reply to a question regarding the recent contacts between President Musharraf’s close aide Tariq Aziz and PPP chairperson Benazir Bhutto. “We have contacts with everyone. Makhdoom Amin Fahim is the only source of our contacts with the PPP and no one else,” he said.

He expressed doubts over the future of the two major opposition alliances — the Alliance for Restoration of Democracy (ARD) and the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) — due to strained relations between the PML-Nawaz and the ARD and the Jamaat-e-Islami with the MMA.

Regarding Indo-Pak relations, the minister said peace between the two nuclear-armed neighbours is the only wish of the masses, and the Indian leadership should realise that their own people want peace.

Responding to a question, Durrani said the government would soon make public the report of the judicial inquiry into the killing of tribal journalist Hayatullah Khan. “We received the report about a month earlier and we took several actions, which it recommended,” he added.

Pak-Americans for SC suo moto on Balochistan

WASHINGTON: Fifteen Pakistani-American organisations have issued a written appeal urging the Chief Justice of Pakistan to conduct a suo moto inquiry into the recent military action in Balochistan, which resulted in the deaths of Akbar Bugti and several of his colleagues, claiming it had caused further alienation between the peoples of Pakistan and between the provinces and the centre.

The letter sent to Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry states: “For those who believe in justice and equality for all, the fundamental issue at hand is the grievances of the people of Balochistan, primarily about military domination, Sardari system, unfair distribution of resources, and lack of inclusion in national decision-making ... The present crisis of confidence between the people of Balochistan and the federal government could further weaken and destabilise Pakistan’s fragile federation.”

The 15 community organisations stress that - in view of the national importance of the issue, its long-term ramifications, and a recent ruling by the Court that the Council of Common Interest “is a cornerstone of the federal structure providing protection of the rights of the federating unit” – the Court should instruct Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz to immediately convene a special meeting of the Council of Common Interest as well as that of the Inter-Provincial Coordination Council to devise a new, just and fair framework for redistribution of powers among the federal and provincial governments and for a more equitable distribution of national resources among the provinces. khalid hasan

Kachkol rejects Aziz’s financial support package for Balochistan

QUETTA: Kachkol Ali Baloch, the opposition leader in the Balochistan Assembly, has rejected a recently announced financial support package by Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz, claiming that the prime minister had provided Balochistan no financial relief as similar announcements had already been made in the budget.

Addressing a press conference at the MPAs’ Hostel on Sunday, he said that Aziz had made “old announcements”, and there was nothing new in the package. “The prime minister used words and figures to fool people over Balochistan affairs,” he said.

Kachkol said it was impossible to barter away “our economic, political and national rights for small allocations of funds that were doubtful as well.

“The Baloch will not ignore Nawab Akbar Bugti’s sacrifice for people’s rights,” he said, adding that the tribal chieftain’s death had made the “national struggle” for rights more vigorous.

The opposition leader said that the government had “not given Balochistan’s share of revenue from natural gas, Saindak and the National Finance Commission Award”.

“The outstanding gas dues are more than $112 billion,” he said, adding that in the absence of gas, Pakistan would have had to import oil worth $2 billion. He said the Pakistani government had “saved $112 billion” in this manner over the last 56 years, and this sum should be paid to Balochistan because “it (gas) was used as an import substitute”.

Referring to the purchase of 200 bulldozers for Balochistan, Kachkol said that Japan’s support for the Provincial Agriculture Engineering Department had been available for several years, but the government had not used Japan’s credit facility to expedite development in Balochistan.

He criticised the government for giving the province “only two percent” of the profits from the Siandak copper and gold project, allowing the Chinese to take away “a bulk of the revenue” and giving all taxes to the federal government. He demanded the federal government hand over all taxes and revenue collected from the Siandak project to the Balochistan government.

Kachkol demanded that the 1973 Constitution be reframed because, he said, it had been “extensively mutilated by military dictators”. He suggested that the federal government keep defence, foreign affairs and currency subjects and transfer all others to federating units to make them autonomous in the true sense.

Quoting a prominent writer, he claimed that all powers — political, administrative and financial – should be retained by the federal government, and the army and the rest were followers or subjects only.

He demanded that federating units be given ”adequate taxation authority” to manage affairs of provinces independently, otherwise the central government was “blackmailing provinces”. The central government was now giving “charity” to the province, he added.

Kachkol claimed there was no representation of the Baloch in the central government, and Balochistan was being “criminally ignored in all spheres of life”.

“There is no Baloch representation in the Pakistan Army, Air Force, Navy, Frontier Corps or coast guards, although 81 percent of the Pakistani coast is Baloch,” he said.

He said that the Baloch would “not benefit” from the development of Gwadar Port, and “aliens would enjoy the fruits of development there”.

He alleged that funds allocated to Marri and Bugti tribal territories would be used to “facilitate oil and gas companies” for the exploration of natural resources in the region.

He appealed to the people of Balochistan not to celebrate Eid and observe it as a protest day against Nawab Bugti’s killing. The opposition leader said that Bugti’s killing had created “tremendous awareness among the Baloch”.