November 25, 2006

Ground Realities in Pashtun region

Ground Realities in Pashtun region

US faces snowballing Afghan war, says Orakzai

Says US, Nato and Kabul closing their eyes to reality | 50,000 more troops needed | Hopes for treaty in Bajaur

ISLAMABAD: The United States and NATO face a snowballing war in Afghanistan and will suffer a military disaster unless they back peaceful means to end the conflict, NWFP Governor Ali Mohammad Jan Orakzai said on Friday.

He said Washington, NATO and the Afghan government were “closing their eyes” to the reality that a military-based strategy was making matters worse. “Either it is lack of understanding or it is a lack of courage to admit their failures,” Orakzai said. “Like in Iraq, it was the lack of courage to admit their faults. They have admitted them now but at very great cost.” Rather than fighting just the Taliban, Orakzai said, NATO forces now faced a wider revolt from Afghanistan’s Pashtun ethnic majority that had grown alienated because of indiscriminate bombings, economic deprivation and a lack of representation. “The people have started joining the Taliban. It is snowballing into a nationalist movement if it has not already become one. It is becoming a sort of war of resistance,” he said. US military officials in Kabul have said insurgent activities have tripled since the truce was called, but Orakzai said linking the statistics to the peace accord was nonsensical. He is now pushing for a similar deal to be struck among the Pashtun tribes on both sides of the border through a jirga, or tribal council, a traditional means of conciliation among warring parties.

“If we can achieve the objectives through political process I think it is the more economical method to do it. If we succeed, very good, and if not who is to deter us from returning to a military strategy,” Orakzai said. The governor said he had outlined his proposal to President George W Bush when he accompanied President Pervez Musharraf to the White House in September. He had told Bush that after five years, the military strategy had failed to achieve any of the US objectives in Afghanistan. Osama bin Laden and Mulla Omar remained at large, reconstruction had been minimal and democracy did not exist beyond “the confines of a few palaces in Kabul”, he said. “It’s time to reflect whether that strategy is working or not. Obviously it is not,” Orakzai said. The 32,000 British-led NATO forces were too few to defeat the insurgency, according to Orakzai. “If they think military is the only option, they should bring another 50,000 troops,” he said, comparing it with the 80,000 men Pakistan had just on the border.

Orakzai dismissed the accusations. He said peace pacts in North and South Waziristan had stopped infiltration and he still hoped for a similar deal in Bajaur. Orakzai said the unrest was spreading before the North Waziristan pact. “If that trend was allowed to continue, it could have threatened the stability of the rest of the country.” President Musharraf sent the army into Waziristan in 2003 to flush out Al Qaeda fighters.

President Musharraf and Afghan President Hamid Karzai have traded allegations over the violence, with Karzai accusing Pakistan of allowing foreign and Pakistani militants and Al Qaeda operatives to use tribal areas in NWFP as a rear base.

November 24, 2006

The Financial Winners in Iraq: Private Military Contractors


Pashtun Jirga for Peace: Will it Work under the Circumstances?

Jirga for peace
By Rahimullah Yusufzai: The News, November 24, 2006

The Pakhtun amn (peace) jirga hosted by the Awami National Party (ANP) in Peshawar on November 20 was the first of its kind and it seems there will be a few more in the coming months. The event brought together Pakhtun politicians, religious scholars, intellectuals, ex-bureaucrats and diplomats, and artistes, all sharing the carpeted stage despite having conflicting political views. Some of the participants were non-Pakhtun but they belonged to the North-West Frontier Province (NWFP) and as such were sons of the soil.

Almost all the speakers highlighted the pain that they had suffered due to the continuing violence in the Pakhtun-inhabited areas across the 2,500-kilometre long Durand Line border in Afghanistan and Pakistan. They voiced the yearning of the Pakhtuns for peace in a region that has been turned into a battlefield by the world and regional powers. It was pointed out time and again from the stage that bloodshed had been going on in the Pakhtun lands for the last 28 years and had gradually spread from Afghanistan to the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and rest of NWFP and Balochistan. The ANP-sponsored jirga, held at the Bacha Khan Markaz named after freedom-fighter and apostle of non-violence, Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan, or Bacha Khan as he was called out of reverence, was essentially an attempt to create awareness among the Pakhtuns about the need to put out the fire that is burning their homes and threatening their livelihoods. It was also an effort to remind the mostly alien combatants, including western armies and Al Qaeda fighters, that they risked becoming unwelcome if they continued to occupy and use the Pakhtun land as a battleground for achieving their strategic goals.

Jirgas are a time-honoured tradition in tribal societies such as that of the Pakhtuns, who more than others have stuck to it as an effective forum to resolve disputes and peacefully put an end to conflicts. A jirga, which literally means sitting in a circle, is essentially an assembly of tribal and religious elders in which unanimous decisions are taken to resolve petty as well as serious disputes involving murders, ownership of property, thefts, matters of honours, etc. Inter-tribal conflicts were also resolved by bigger jirgas drawn from all Pakhtun tribes and areas. The loya jirgas evolved in Afghanistan and were constituted whenever the Afghans faced external aggression or wanted to embark on expeditions aimed at conquering neighbouring countries. At a later stage, the Afghan loya jirgas were also convened to frame that country's constitution and repose confidence in a ruler or government.

The concept and function of jirgas has changed over the years. The jirgas convened by governments are stuffed with their nominees who make decisions favouring the rulers. The independent jirgas, such as those called by the tribes in FATA, mostly take decisions in keeping with riwaj (customs) and tribal traditions and in line with Islamic injunctions. There is no doubt the power of jirgas has diminished due to a host of reasons, ranging from government and political interference to the rise of moneyed classes able to influence tribal elders and clergymen. Jirgas like the one arranged by the ANP will have political and moral weight only because there is no official sanction for their decisions to be implemented.

The resolution adopted by the Pakhtun peace jirga called for unity among all Pakhtuns to stop the bloodshed in the areas populated by them on both sides of the Durand Line. It demanded an end to interference in Afghanistan's affairs and condemned the use of force to settle disputes. The jirga showed concern over deterioration of the security situation in FATA after becoming a turf of conflict between armed combatants including foreigners and called for empowering the tribal Pakhtuns by granting them fundamental rights and undertaking political and administrative reforms with their consent. The jirga also demanded investigation of incidents in FATA in which indiscriminate use of military force was made and awarding punishment to those found guilty in accordance with the law. This was obviously prompted by the October 30 bombing of the religious school in Chingai village in Bajaur in which 80 people, mostly young students, were killed. In fact, the Bajaur attack, blamed by most Pakistanis on the US military despite claims by the Pakistan government that its own gunship helicopters were responsible for the missile strikes, served as the catalyst for the ANP to hold its jirga in Peshawar.

The measure of the jirga's success was the positive response of almost all the invitees, whether political or non-political, to participate in its deliberations. Top leadership of political parties, except the ruling PML and interior minister Aftab Sherpao's PPP which sent their low-ranked representatives, attended the jirga and spoke to the audience, composed mostly of ANP activists wearing red caps. The religio-political parties, which have emerged as the main rival to the national and secular parties such as the ANP for the Pakhtun vote, were adequately represented. Jamaat-i-Islami's NWFP head Sirajul Haq was there making an emotional speech and blaming the Pakistani generals for the suffering of the people, particularly the Pakhtuns.

The JUI-F and MMA supremo Maulana Fazlur Rahman came in person and dominated one of the sessions by making the unusual declaration that the Durand Line border was still a matter of dispute between Afghanistan and Pakistan and by reminding that deployment of 80,000 Pakistan Army troops in the border areas in FATA was a violation of the more than 100-year old Gandamak agreement signed by the then government of British India and Afghanistan. He also offered to mediate between the Taliban and the Afghan government and its American sponsors, provided the Taliban were not labelled as terrorists and provided with a level playing field to take part in Afghanistan's politics. For that to happen, Maulana Fazlur Rahman wanted President Hamid Karzai to break himself free of the US and operate independently after getting rid of the occupying foreign forces in Afghanistan.

However, there was little doubt that the jirga was a show of Pakhtun nationalists. The ANP called the shots and got the jirga to adopt a resolution designed to advance the party's line on the situation obtaining in the borderlands of Afghanistan and Pakistan. Mahmod Khan Achakzai, the ultra Pakhtun nationalist and leader of the Balochistan-centred Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PMAP), was his usual ebullient self, criticising all those who held a different view and robustly defending his stance that the Soviet military intervention in Afghanistan in 1979 and the US invasion in 2001 was justified in view of the foreign interference in the Central Asian country by an assortment of players ranging from the ISI and CIA to Al Qaeda. His partisan views could have split the jirga had it not been for ANP president Asfandyar Wali Khan, who wisely refrained from highlighting divisive issues and strived to achieve a consensus among his invitees holding divergent political views. This was in keeping with the dignity and norms of a jirga, where participants often let go their pride to arrive at a consensus for the common good of their people.

It is obvious the Pakhtun peace jirga will enable the ANP to gain political mileage and enable it to claim that it took a timely step to end the bloodshed in Pakhtun territory. Subsequent jirgas would add to the value of the ANP initiative and primarily follow its lead in demanding an end to hostilities in the Pakhtun belt. There is a possibility of convening similar jirgas in Quetta and FATA and participants could include representatives of Pakhtuns inhabiting lands as far as the US, Europe, Arab countries and the Far East. Then there are plans to hold state-sponsored grand Pakhtun tribal jirgas in Afghanistan and Pakistan in line with the decision taken by presidents George W Bush, General Pervez Musharraf and Hamid Karzai in their summit meeting last summer in Washington.

Jirgas are thus becoming fashionable and bigger and those unfamiliar with the name and the tradition are getting to know it better. Still all these jirgas will be unable to deliver if those sponsoring them use the event as a vehicle to achieve narrow political goals. Jirgas succeed when parties to the conflict get an equal hearing and decisions are made independently and by consensus. That is unlikely to happen in the prevailing circumstances. So we could have as many jirgas as we want but none would be able to deliver until those sitting on the jirgas are authorised by the powers that be, whether Afghanistan, Pakistan, the US and NATO, or non-state actors like Al Qaeda, to take any decision for the sake of peace.

The writer is an executive editor of The News International based in Peshawar. Email:

"Aryan" invasion leads to genocide in Africa


An African version of the infamous Aryan invasion theory propagated by missionaries and colonial rulers triggered the Hutu-Tutsi massacres

Pankaj Saksena

(Edited with comments by N.S. Rajaram)

Editor’s introduction: Most Indians are familiar with the Aryan invasion theory and its political misuse. Some are familiar also with its demolition by science, especially genetics, and the recent British admission that it was a political ploy used by them in their policy of divide and rule. While the theory has been fully discredited, some Western academics and their Indian followers are clinging to it out of concern for their academic survival. This was what was really behind the recent controversy over the California school curriculum. What most Indians, however, don’t know is that the Aryan-Dravidian racial divide was only one instance of the colonial-missionary tactic of divide and rule combined with divide and convert.

A similar artificial division created in Africa was to have horrific consequences. The recent Hutu-Tutsi conflicts in which millions of lives were lost was a direct result of such a tactic applied by academics, colonial bureaucrats and missionaries as Pankaj Saksena’s following account describes. (N.S.R.)

The concept of the Aryan invasion theory being the handiwork of British colonialists for the sake of proving the superiority of the European Caucasian races is not an isolated case. There exist similar theories in other parts of the world involving other nations and other (imaginary) ethnic groups as the following shows. One has to wonder why it has received so little attention from scholars. (Perhaps they are worried that their dubious record would be further damaged by the exposure of more such skeletons in their already rotten closet.)

When we look at the map of middle Africa, we see two little countries named Rwanda and Burundi , bordering on Zaire (or the Democratic Republic of Congo). The name Rwanda brings to mind in a flash the image of ethnic violence, civil war, military juntas and genocide on a horrific scale. Few Indians know the recent history of these unfortunate countries or the cause of their tragic history. As reported in the Western media, these countries are inhabited by two supposedly different ethnic groups, the so-called Hutus and Tutsis. The ethnic composition of these two countries is as follows.

Rwanda : Hutu 84%, Tutsi 15%, Twa (Pygmies) 1%

Burundi : Hutu 85%, Tutsi 14%, Twa 1%

In other words, their compositions hardly differ at all. But according to Western anthropologists, mainly colonial bureaucrats and missionaries, the Tutsies are supposed to be a Hamitic people, a race that was often intermixed with the whiter races of the North, notably from Ethiopia and Egypt , which in their turn were intermixed with some West Asiatic people, mainly the Hittites, by repeated invasions from the North. These people, the Tutsis, are supposed to have arrived from the North and not native to Rwanda .

(The analogy to the invading Aryans is immediate and striking, but it doesn’t stop here. Read on. N.S.R.)

The majority of Hutus are said to be Bantu, of original African race, which spilled out from the middle of the West African coast of Nigeria, Cameroon, Ghana, Togo, Benin, Cote d’Ivorie (Ivory Coast) and the inland countries of Burkina Faso and its neighbors.

In this scenario, which incidentally is contradicted by genetic analysis, Tutsis are foreign invaders or migrants (like the Aryans) in the Rwanda-Burundi region. The Hutus, like the Indian Dravidians, are said to be much older people, but not the original inhabitants. The original inhabitants are supposed to be the Pygmies (or Twa), who constitute barely 1 percent of the people. The really interesting part of the theory is the role of the Tutsi minority. They are made into a superior race of invaders, just like the Aryan invaders, and supposedly constitute the aristocratic elite and the oppressors of the Hutu majority.

According to this theory, the minority Tutsi have subjugated the indigenous, but not too indigenous (compared to the Pygmies) Hutus for centuries and forced them into inferior position of agriculture. Now the key notion: Hutus and Tutsis are really two completely separate races, with the ‘black’ Hutus forming the oppressed majority, and their relatively fairer invaders, the Tutsi, forming the oppressors.

This in essence is the Tutsi invasion theory, the African version of the Aryan invasion theory. The similarities are startling, even to the extent of the Dravidians in India being preceded by earlier inhabitants, the aborigines (so-called adi-vasis), who have their African counterpart in the Pygmies. So we have the African Pygmy-Hutu-Tutsi sequence corresponding to the Indian aborigines-Dravidia n-Aryan scheme.

It is highly illustrative to look at the political evolution of this grotesque theory and its monstrous consequences. Until the coming of the Europeans, the Tutsis and the Hutus never saw themselves as different and were not engaged in any racial wars. With the European scramble for Africa, Rwanda-Burundi became part of the short-lived German East Africa . After Germany ’s defeat in the First World War, it became part of the Belgian colonies in Africa . This notion of the Tutsi-Hutu racial difference began to be drilled into the natives by colonial administrators, some academics (Witzel-types) and missionaries known as the Pere Blancs (White Fathers). They invented the Tutsi invasion theory and labeled the Hutus as the victims of Tutsi invasion and oppression.

It is worth noting that this period, between the two world wars, was the heyday of race theories in Europe . It seems the notion of superiority due to skin color—real or imagined as in this case—is so deeply ingrained in the European psyche that they cannot get out of it. Its politics has collapsed, not due to any dawn of enlightenment on its proponents but the defeat of Nazi Germany. It has continued however in Western academia as Indo-European Studies and other guises.

As with the Aryan theories and their various offshoots, this Tutsi-Hutu division has no factual basis. They speak the same language, have a long history of intermarriage and have many cultural characteristics in common. Most differences are regional rather than racial, which they were not aware of until the Europeans made it part of their politics and propaganda.

The division if any was occupational. Agriculturists were called Hutu while the cattle owning elite were referred to as Tutsi. The Tutsi, like the Indian Aryans, were supposed to be tall, thin and fair, while the Hutu were described as short, black and squat— just as the Indian Dravidians are said to be. Since the Tutsi today don’t fit this description, scholars claimed that their invading ancestors did. They offered no proof but, being based on no evidence, cannot be disproved either. In fact, it is impossible today to tell the two people apart. They are separate because government records carried over from the colonial days say so. (More of this below.)

This imaginary racial difference was emphasized by colonial officials during Belgian rule. The Belgian Government forced everyone to carry an identity card showing tribal ethnicity as Hutu or Tutsi. This was used in administration, in providing lands, positions, and otherwise for playing power politics based on race. This divisive politics combined with the racial hatred sowed by the invasion theory turned Rwanda-Burundi into a powder keg ready to explode.

The explosion occurred, following independence form colonial rule. Repeated violence after independence fueled this hatred based on this supposed ethnic difference and the concocted history of the Tutsi invasion and oppression. Some 2.5 million people were massacred in this fratricidal horror of wars and genocides. Unscrupulous African leaders, like the so-called Dravidian leaders of India , have exploited this divisive colonial legacy to gain power at the cost of the people. Hutu leaders described the Tutsis as cockroaches, telecasting their tirades against the Tutsis on the radio during the 1994 genocide of the Tutsis. This led ordinary Hutus to massacre the Tutsis en masse in a bid to annihilate them completely.

So a peaceful, placid nation with a common populace, with a common language, culture and history was destroyed by colonialist, racist concoction called the Tutsi Invasion Theory— entirely the handiwork of colonial bureaucrats, missionaries and Witzel-like pseudo-scholars.

It is of course no coincidence that ideas that led to the Holocaust in Europe should have led to genocide in Africa . The disgrace is that they have found a home in Western academia in various guises, ready to come out of the closet at an opportune moment, as for instance during the recent California school curriculum controversy.

Why should we learn all this? Because the Tutsi Invasion Theory has ominous parallels to the Aryan Invasion Theory which Witzelite pseudo-scholars are trying desperately to save in the name of linguistics, Indo-European Studies or some such fig-leaf. Also, ethnic tension and violence, thankfully not on the same horrific scale, was incited between North- and South Indians by self-styled Dravidian parties like the DMK, AIDMK and their many offshoots and incarnations. These are the poisonous legacy of the colonial-missionary racist offspring.

Why did India not go the way of Rwanda-Burundi? Not for lack of trying but because the cultural legacy of Hinduism proved too strong. It defeated the designs of politicians and propagandists masquerading as scholars. It is no coincidence that Rwanda and Burundi had been converted to Christianity, carrying with it the message of intolerance. But there is no room for complacency. The anti-Hindu politicians of India and the Marxist-missionary academia have come together to defend the Aryan-Dravidian divide. They have been joined by the Witzelites, concerned for their academic survival.

Their failure in Hindu India is also what is behind the visceral anti-Hinduism of the Witzelites. This is enhanced by the fact that Hindu scholars have been at the forefront of exposing their designs and scholarly pretensions.

The Witzelite brand of pseudo-scholarship cannot survive once the Aryan theories end up in the dustbin where they belong. They have found useful stooges in Indian politics and academia. They no longer engage in debate but in name calling. Any opposition to the Aryan invasion is denounced as emotional, chauvinistic, and the handiwork of Hindu nationalists and fundamentalists. Like the artificial Aryan-Dravidian divide, the Tutsi-Hutu divide is also denied by respectable—non- Witzelite— scholarship, including Western scholarship. Are we to denounce these—and a million Tutsi victims of the genocides—as the handiwork of these nationalistic chauvinistic Tutsis who deserved their fate?

The answer lies in the correct reading of the indigenous history through the various new tools available today, from science, genetics and archaeology. It calls for the deconstruction of the colonial edifice that has promoted this racist, hate filled theories to appeal to the vanity of a few and help the careers of some pseudo-scholars. Above all, it calls for exposing the charlatans who fatten on the misery of victims of colonial horrors carrying pompous names like anthropology, Indo-European Studies and the like. These are the parasites of colonialism.

November 22, 2006

BALOCHISTAN : An Insurgency Falters

But General Musharraf's bravado notwithstanding, there is obvious concern in the Pakistani establishment about the widespread retreat of the state across an extended swathe of territory.


The 'terrorism' in Balochistan, President Pervez Musharraf informs us, has been 'wiped out'. At Gwadar in Balochistan he stated, "We have been able to destroy over 50 per cent (terror) networks. We are also committed to wipe it out from the country." He stated, further, that a handful of elements involved in disruptive activities consider themselves to be strong but they are not. "I am not a person to be subdued by cowardly attacks," he declaimed, warning that if they fire "one rocket they will receive 10 hits."

General Musharraf's bravado notwithstanding, there is obvious concern in the Pakistani establishment about the widespread retreat of the state across an extended swathe of territory. Musharraf had himself conceded that "increasing dissatisfaction in smaller provinces was a major problem facing the country when he took over in October 1999." A scrutiny of the conflict in Balochistan indicates that it has, since then, in fact becoming increasingly difficult to manage the rebellion in the province.

Has the province calmed down after the assassination of Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti on August 26, 2006? Are the tribal chiefs ready to throw in the towel and settle for 'more autonomy'? These and related questions will be a matter of interest in the immediate future.

After the assassination of Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti on August 26, 2006, and till November 16, 2006, thirty-two people, including 24 civilians, have died in 83 insurgency-related incidents in Balochistan. Before this, between January 1 and August 26, 414 persons, including 198 civilians, 134 insurgents and 82 soldiers, had been killed in at least 644 incidents. The insurgency evidently continues to simmer and there has been a steady stream of bomb and rocket attacks on gas pipelines, railway tracks, power transmission lines, bridges, and communications infrastructure, as well as on military establishments and governmental facilities. Acts of violence are, according to Pakistani news reports "not confined to a few districts but are taking place in practically all the Baloch districts including Quetta." Indeed, violence in the provincial capital, Quetta, has increased in the recent weeks, with as many as 14 explosions recorded since October 1, 2006. Landmine blasts continue to affect normal life in the province. According to the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), there were 121 landmine blasts in 2006 (till September). At least 78 civilians and 28 soldiers were killed and over 150 people injured in these incidents. Farid Ahmed, HRCP coordinator in Balochistan, indicated that "All these incidents have taken place in the Kohlu and Dera Bugti areas."

President Pervez Musharraf is reported to have met only "notables" from five Districts during his visit to Gwadar, rather than addressing a Jirga (assembly) of the Sardars (tribal chieftains). These notables were from Gwadar, Turbat, Panjgur, Awaran and Lasbela. The Government had earlier announced that it was convening a Jirga of Baloch tribal elders in Islamabad on November 8, but it was subsequently postponed till November 17 and the venue shifted to Gwadar. Sources indicate that this was due to the unwillingness of some Sardars to attend the Islamabad Jirga. The eventual decision to allow only elders from five Districts to meet the President, as against the convocation of a Jirga, manifestly reduced the significance of the meeting at Gwadar. News reports indicate that the Sardari system in the old Makran division — which comprised Gwadar, Turbat and Panjgur — was abolished decades ago, while Awaran and Lasbela have a semi-sardari system. Pakistani columnist Amir Mir told SAIR that Islamabad even dropped the honorific 'Grand Jirga' and instead relabeled it as a meeting of 'notables'.

No Sardar is reported to have met the president, according to sources in Pakistan. It is also a clear indication that Islamabad will not negotiate with the existing leaders of the insurgency, suggesting the persistence of a hard-line approach against them. This is entirely in line with Musharraf's stated position that only three (Nawab Bugti, Sardar Attaullah Mengal and Nawab Khair Bux Marri) of the 78 tribal chiefs were "troublemakers."

A Jirga has a unique position in the Baloch society, and there appears to be a competing facet to it now. Mir Suleman Dawood, the Khan of Kalat, (his grandfather Baglar Begi had signed the accession of what is present-day Balochistan province with Pakistan on March 27, 1948) called a Grand Baloch Shahi Jirga (grand meeting) on September 21, 2006, to protest against Islamabad's policies in Balochistan. With 95 tribal Sardars and 300 other 'notables' reportedly in attendance, it adopted a resolution condemning the killing of Nawab Bugti and Pakistan's "colonial occupation" of Baloch land. The Jirga, said to be the first of its kind bringing together so many chieftains under one platform in more than 100 years, adopted a resolution condemning what it called the "violation of its territorial integrity, exploitation of Balochistan's natural resources, denial of the Baloch right to the ownership of their resources and the military operation in the province." They also decided to move the International Court of Justice over what they said was the violation of an agreement between the former Kalat state, the then British Raj and Pakistan at the time of India's Partition. The Shahi Jirga was also an indication that the largely reclusive Khan of Kalat is still a respected figure and may emerge as a future player in Baloch politics.

General Musharraf's visit to Gwadar comes at a time when Bugti's Jamhoori Watan Party (JWP) is reported to be 'falling apart'. Pakistani news reports attribute this to the "disruptive interference of Pakistan's intelligence agencies." While the JWP obviously faces a leadership crisis, sources in Pakistan told SAIR that secret agencies have gained control over the party. After the Bugti assassination, JWP members wanted to resign from their legislative posts but the Quetta Corps Commander threatened them with dire consequences, and they backed off. The party was weakened further after a few members, including Secretary-General Shahid Bugti, resigned from their positions after reportedly developing differences with Bugti's son Jamil Bugti. However, recent reports now indicate that some rapprochement has occurred, and Shahid Bugti and others have declared that they would carry on with Nawab Bugti's 'mission'.

Writing in the Lahore-based weekly Nida-e-Millat on September 20, Maqbool Arshad notes: "Brahamdagh Bugti and Meer Aali Bugti [grandsons of Nawab Bugti] are viewed as strong candidates to become head of the Bugti tribe. Jameel Bugti and Talal Bugti [sons of Bugti] cannot be ignored — though they don't have the majority on their side. Brahamdagh is a strong candidate because Nawab Akbar Bugti wanted him to be his successor, though some influential sardars of the tribe are opposed to his leadership, arguing that Aali Bugti has the right to become the sardar of the Bugti tribe because he is the son of the eldest son of Nawab Bugti i.e. Saleem Bugti. Reportedly, "The Bugtis are divided over the issue of succession. Nawab Akbar Bugti's supporters want Brahamdagh Bugti to be the sardar. But another group wants to follow the traditions according to which the eldest son is sardar always. Saleem Bugti has died. According to tradition, Saleem Bugti's son i.e. Aali Bugti has to become sardarĂ¢€¦ Akbar Bugti had three wives and six sons.His Baloch wife gave birth to four sons — Saleem, Talal, Rehan and Salal. Three sons have died. Talal is alive. Akbar Bugti's second wife was a Pathan. She gave birth to Jameel Bugti. The third wife was Iranian and she gave birth to Shehzore Bugti. Thus there are five candidates for the office of sardar — Talal, Jameel, Shehzore, Aali and Brahamdagh."

There is evidence of some disarray in the leadership of other Baloch nationalist formations. While Khair Bux Marri is silent, Attaullah Mengal has been vocal after Bugti's death. The provincial assembly members from Mengals' party have resigned their seats. He had been issuing strong statements but has abruptly become quiet. Noted Pakistani writer Mohammed Shehzad told SAIR that "Agencies are talking to him. His son Akhtar Mengal has been offered the 'job' of Balochistan Chief Minister provided he stopped creating trouble for Musharraf."

There has been a momentary dispersal of the insurgents into the largely inaccessible hills, according to sources. While there are some preliminary signs of their regrouping — they continue to attack a variety of state installations with impunity — a clearer post-Bugti strategy is yet to crystallize, though they are receiving instructions from Brahamdagh Bugti regularly and working accordingly. Reports of November 3 said Pakistani intelligence agencies have claimed that Brahamdagh is in Kabul and demanded that the Afghan Government extradite him. Brahamdagh, who was reportedly formally designated by Bugti as his successor, is accused of orchestrating the insurgency. There is no extradition treaty between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Kanchan Lakshman is Research Fellow, Institute for Conflict Management; Assistant Editor, Faultlines: Writings on Conflict & Resolution. Courtesy, the South Asia Intelligence Review of the South Asia Terrorism Portal