March 30, 2007

Gen.Hamid Gul and his daughter : Man/womanHandling

Pakistani policemen manhandle renowned opposition leader Lt Gen (Retd) Hameed Gul and his daughter Uzma Gul during a demonstration against the sacking of Chief Justice of Pakistan, Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry. The protests in Islamabad and Lahore came hours Chaudhry was to attend a hearing at the Supreme Court in the capital into misconduct charges laid by President General Pervez Musharraf

Gen.Hamid Gul and his Daughter Ms.Uzma Gul

About Ms.Uzma Gul
Varan Tours, Sadar , Rawalpindi

Uzma Gul established a transport company initially with only one bus, and now the company owns a fleet of 75 buses, which are running on various routes of Rawalpindi and Islamabad. Transport is considered to be a very difficult domain where even the male entrepreneurs fear to enter — but Uzma dared to. She wanted to dispel the notion that woman entrepreneurs restrict themselves to certain traditional businesses. Uzma has been associated with this business for the last 10 years, and is looking forward to expanding her business. She faced a multitude of problems in the beginning. One big problem was inconsistency in the transport policies of successive governments. "The only thing that remained consistent was a negative attitude of the government officials. They felt very awkward to deal with a woman transporter", she recollects. Within the company she faced administrative problems and a strange form of resentment from the staff, as they were very uneasy to have a woman boss. Uzma started with an inter-city service between Sargodha and Rawalpindi, and later expanded to the twin cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi. Along with the profit motive, she wanted to start a quality transport service for the working women, which was hitherto absent. Uzma believes that one can only achieve things through hard work, commitment, courage and a little bit of craziness. "I have also learnt that it is a male-oriented society out there, and a woman cannot perform well if the male members of her family do not create a right kind of environment for her. Your family should be very supportive, otherwise you cannot do anything in this society, and I have been quite lucky in this regard", she concludes.


by B. Raman

There has been an increasingly disturbing challenge to the authority of Pakistan's President, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, from jihadis inspired by the Neo Taliban and Al Qaeda, who are actively supported by a group of retired officers of the Army and the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). This group is led by Gen. Mohammad Aziz, a Kashmiri Sudan from the Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir (POK), Lt. Gen. Hamid Gul, Lt. Gen. Javed Nasir, Lt. Gen. Mahmood Ahmed, Maj.Gen. Zahir-ul-Islam Abbasi and Sq. Leader Khalid Khawaja.

2. Mohammad Aziz and Mahmood Ahmed used to be the most trusted Lt.Gen. of Musharraf when he took over as the Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) in October,1998. It is they who staged the coup against Nawaz Sharif, the then Prime Minister, on October 12,1999, when he dismissed Musharraf while he was flying from Colombo to Karachi and ordered Lt. Gen. Ziauddin, the then DG of the ISI, to take over as the COAS. They prevented Ziauddin from taking over and overthrew Nawaz even before Musharraf's plane landed in Karachi. After taking over as the Chief Executive, Musharraf sacked Ziauddin and had him arrested. He promoted Mahmood Ahmed in his place as the DG of the ISI.

3. The US did not feel comfortable with them because of their perceived links with the Islamic fundamentalist elements and they had to be shifted by Musharraf under US pressure in October 2001. Mohammad Aziz, who was then the Chief of the General Staff (CGS) in the Army Headquarters, was transferred to Lahore as a Corps Commander. Ahmed was also transferred to a Corps. Both of them have since retired. They were lying low for a while avoiding participating in any activities directed against Musharraf. Even now, they avoid any statements, remarks or actions, which could be misinterpreted as anti-Musharraf, but they have been increasingly hobnobbing with Hamid Gul.

4. Hamid Gul was the DG of the ISI under Mrs.Benazir Bhutto during the first few months of her first tenure as the Prime Minister (1988 to 90), but she removed him from the post following the fiasco of an attack by the Afghan Mujahideen and Osama bin Laden's followers which he had organised in a bid to capture Jalalabad from the control of the then Afghan President Najibullah's army in 1989. The attack was repulsed by the Afgan Army after inflicting heavy casualties on the invaders.

5. After his retirement, Hamid Gul joined the Jamaat-e-Islami (JEI) of Qazi Hussain Ahmed and worked for some years for the Pasban, the militant youth wing of the JEI. He is no longer with the Pasban. He now owns a flourishing road transport business and has been at the forefront of all anti-Musharraf and anti-US activities by ex-servicemen. He has also been helping the Neo Taliban and its Amir, Mulla Mohammad Omar, in running their training camps in Pakistani territory. He has also rallied the support of many ex-servicemen for the current agitation by the lawyers and the JEI against Musharraf over the suspension of Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhury, the Chief Justice of Pakistan's Supreme Court, on March 9, 2007.

6. Javed Nasir, former Amir of the Tablighi Jamaat (TJ), was the DG of the ISI during Nawaz Sharif's first tenure as the Prime Minister (1990-93). The US forced Nawaz to sack him because of its unhappiness over his perceived non-co-operation in the implementation of a project of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) for the purchase of the unused Stinger missiles from the Afghan Mujahideen. Since then, he has been virulently anti-US and has been helping the Neo Taliban and the TJ. He has also been playing an active role in the mobilisation of TJ cadres to join the lawyer's agitation. Mohammad Rafique Tarar, former President, who was removed from office by Musharraf in 2001, has also been in the forefront of this agitation. He was and continues to be an active member of the TJ.

7. Abbasi used to be the ISI station chief in New Delhi in the late 1980s. He was expelled by the Government of India. In 1995, the Pakistan Army then headed by Gen. Adul Waheed Kakar, discovered a plot by Abbasi and some other officers to have the General and Benazir Bhutto, then Prime Minster for a second time (1993-96), assassinated and capture power. They were working secretly with the Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami (HUJI). They were arrested, court-martialled and jailed. After coming out of jail, Abbasi has been active in campaigning against the policies of Musharraf. He is since reported to have joined the Hizbut-Tehrir (HT), which has many followers in the lower levels of the army.

8. Khawaja was also in the ISI and used to be in touch with the Taliban after it came into being in 1994 and Osma bin Laden after he shifted to Afghanistan in 1996. After leaving the ISI, he joined the Jamaat-ul-Furqa (JUF) of Sheikh Syed Mubarik Ali Shah Jilani, which has many followers in the Muslim communities of the US and the West Indies. Daniel Pearl had sought his help for arranging a meeting with Jilani. Pearl wanted to enquire about any links between the JUF and Richard Reid, the shoe bomber. It was Khawaja, who had tipped off the kidnappers of Pearl about his Jewish background and created a suspicion in their mind that Pearl had links with the CIA and Mossad. He is now in detention on a charge of instigating the women students of a madrasa of Islamabad (Jamia Hafsa) to start an agitation against the demolition of some mosques in Islamabad. This agitation has been going on for the last two months. In addition to other demands, the agitating women students, who project themselves as future wives and mothers of suicide bombers, are now demanding his release from jail. They have been shouting slogans in praise of bin Laden and Mulla Omar.

9. These retired officers and their followers have been actively helping the Neo Taliban by organising training camps for its recruits and by facilitating its procurement of arms and ammunition. They have also been instigating the madrasas not to comply with the orders of Musharraf for their registration and for the expulsion of foreign students. They have also been urging the tribals in the Federally-Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and the North-West Frontier Province (NWFP) to continue to provide hospitality to the Neo Taliban and Al Qaeda in their territory and help them in their operations in the Afghan territory. They have been encouraging the lawyers to keep up their agitation against Musharraf.

10. The jihadis trained, armed and motivated by them have stepped up their activities not only in Afghan territory against the NATO forces, but also in Pakistani territory in reprisal for the co-operation allegedly extended by Musharraf to the US in its war against Al Qaeda and the Neo Taliban. Recent examples of the resulting escalation in the jihadi violence in Pakistani territory are:

An unidentified suicide bomber blew himself up at a military training ground near Kharian, 130 kilometers south-east of Islamabad, on March 29, 2007, killing one (some reports say three) soldier and wounding at least six more. Three Lt. Gen of the Pakistan Army were to visit the camp that day. It is not yet known whether he was planning to kill them and blew himself up prematurely. As the suicide attacker approached the training centre, an Army security guard stopped and asked him to show his identity card. The attacker blew himself up. This is the eighth incident involving a suicide bomber in Pakistani territory since the beginning of this year.
On March 27, 2007, unidentified gunmen on motorbikes hurled grenades and opened fire on an army vehicle in the Bajaur Agency, killing five persons, including two officials of the ISI, one of them a middle-level officer of the rank of Assistant Director. This attack came despite a cease-fire agreement concluded by the Army earlier this week with the pro-Neo Taliban tribal leaders of the Agency.
On March 28, there was a confrontation between the Islamabad police and the agitating women students of the Jamia Hafsa madrasa. The students took hostage three women from a house near Lal Masjid to which the madrasa is attached. They accused them of running a brothel. The police retaliated by capturing four members of the staff of the madrasa. The women retaliated from their side by setting fire to a police van and taking two police officers hostage. Ultimately, the two sides released their respective hostages. The deputy imam of the Lal Masjid, which is headed by Qazi Abdul Aziz, and the agitating women students have given a 15- day ultimatum to the police to release Khalid Khawaja and four other activists of their movement who have been detained. The agitating women students and their male supporters from other madrasas nearby attacked police vehicles and seized their communication sets. The pro-Neo Taliban madrasas and mosques in the Islamabad area have managed to get hold of FM radio equipment from the FATA, to which many of the women students belong, and started making anti-Musharraf and anti-US broadcasts to the people of the capital.

On March 26, 2007, there was a clash between the police of Tank (previously known as Tonk), a district headquarters town of the NWFP, and some recruiters of the Neo Taliban who went to a local school to recruit its students to the Neo Taliban. One police officer and one of the recruiters were killed. About 200 members of the Neo Taliban raided the town in retaliation for the death of the recruiter on March 28, looted the local banks and engaged in exchanges of fire with the local security forces for six hours in different parts of the town. The Army had to be called out and a curfew imposed in order to restore law and order.

11. Earlier, on March 6, 2007, the Governor of the NWFP Lt-Gen (retd) Ali Mohammad Jan Aurakzai, had convened a meeting attended by the Chief Minister, Mr. Akram Khan Durrani, and senior officials of the province to discuss the worsening law and order situation in the province due to the escalation in the activities of the Neo Taliban and its local supporters. According to the "Dawn" of Karachi (March 29), the local officials gave the following assessment to the Governor: "“Inaction on the part of the law-enforcement agencies has led to the Government being on the retreat. Writ of the government shrinking with every passing day. Vacuum being filled by non-state actors. Respect for law and state authority gradually diminishing. Morale of the law-enforcing agencies and people supportive of the Government on the decline. Talibanisation, lawlessness and terrorism on the rise.”

12. The following points were reportedly made at the meeting: The number of bomb explosions in the NWFP increased from 27 in 2005 to 35 in 2006.In the first two months of this year, there have already been 25 explosions, killing 23 persons. Talibanisation has particularly affected Tank, Dera Ismail Khan, Bannu and Lakki Marwat. There has been a resurgence of the activities of the Tehrik-i-Nifaz-i-Shariat Muhammadi, particularly in the Swat region where Maulana Fazlullah alias Maulana Radio was making full use of his illegally set up FM radio station to carry on propaganda against the Government. While the situation is getting out of control, there appears to be a total paralysis and inaction on the part of the Federal Government.

13. Sources in the local police force say that a time when there has been an escalation in the activities of the Neo Taliban and Al Qaeda in the FATA and the NWFP, they are finding themselves handicapped in dealing with the situation for want of adequate forces. According to them, Musharraf has been giving priority to quelling the Baloch nationalist movement in Balochistan rather than to action against the Neo Taliban and Al Qaeda. As a result, there are more security forces deployed in Balochistan than in the FATA and the NWFP. The peace agreements signed by him with the pro-Taliban elements in South and North Waziristan and Bajaur agencies were mainly intended to enable the Army to divert forces to Balochistan. This has given a free field for the Neo Taliban and Al Qaeda in the FATA and the NWFP. They have not only stepped up their offensive against the NATO forces in Afghanistan, but also launched an offensive against the Pakistani security forces themselves in Pakistani territory.

14. The Neo Taliban, assisted by Al Qaeda, has become Musharraf's Frankenstein's monster. He helped in its post-9/11 resurgence to achieve Pakistan's Afghan agenda. It is showing signs of slipping out of his control. As regards the role of the retired officers backing the Neo Taliban with their own anti-US agenda, it is doubtful whether they would have instigated some of the incidents mentioned above such as the suicide attack at a training camp of the army and the killing of two ISI officers.

15.It would seem that the Neo Taliban has assumed a momentum of its own and is increasingly not amenable to anybody's control----either Musharraf's or his detrators'. The international community has reasons to be seriously concerned over the goings-on in Pakistan. It is slowly moving towards a situation of jihadi anarchy.

(The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Government of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. E-mail:

Duel for Leverage Fuels Conflict, Not Diplomacy

Analysis by Trita Parsi*

WASHINGTON, Mar 30 (IPS) - As the dispute over Iran's seizure of British sailors continues to twist and turn, what may have been an isolated incident at the outset is quickly developing into yet another move in the geopolitical chess game between the West and Iran.

The incident took place on Mar. 23 in a disputed waterway between Iraq and Iran. Fifteen British sailors were detained by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, and after a few short days of quiet diplomacy, both the British and Iranian governments resorted to fighting their case in public -- a move that significantly reduces the chance of a quick and smooth resolution to the dispute.

>From the outset, the British authorities have insisted in stark categorical terms that the sailors were in Iraqi and not Iranian waters. On Wednesday, the British produced GPS coordinates to support their claim, even though the coordinates were from a helicopter that London says hovered over the Indian ship that the sailors had inspected, and not the GPS coordinates of the sailors themselves.

Iran was quick to produce its own evidence. The GPS unit of one of the British sailors, confiscated by the Iranian authorities, shows that the British were not only in Iranian waters at the time of the incident, but that they had crossed over into Iranian waters on five earlier occasions as well, according to Tehran.

Whether the British were in Iranian waters or not -- and whether the Iranians believe the British were in Iranian waters or not -- Tehran seems to be using the incident to regain leverage over the West in the confrontation over its nuclear programme and its rising power and influence in the Middle East.

Much indicates that both Iran and the U.S. have come to recognise that it is becoming increasingly difficult to avoid some sort of diplomatic confrontation between them. This is particularly problematic for the George W. Bush administration, which for several years has adamantly opposed the idea of talking to Tehran.

The sudden realisation of the near-impossibility to avoid real diplomacy caused much anxiety in the Bush administration earlier this year. Washington had no shortage of contingency war plans with Iran -- but no contingency plans for diplomacy, and consequently no preparation for such negotiations.

So when the Iraq Study Group and Congress pushed the White House to recognise the need for diplomacy with Iraq's neighbours, including Iran, the Bush administration balked. It lacked leverage to negotiate with Iran, it said.

"Frankly, right at this moment there's really nothing the Iranians want from us and so in any negotiation right now we would be the supplicant," Secretary of Defence Robert Gates explained. "The only reason to talk to us would be to extract a price, and that's not diplomacy, that's extortion."

If the U.S. lacked leverage over Iran, the answer lied in gaining that leverage. Instead of accepting the Iraq Study Group's recommendation to open talks with Iran, the Bush White House sought to increase the pressure on Iran to gain leverage -- in any way possible.

On Dec. 24, U.S. troops arrested several Iranian officials in Iraq -- of which at least two were diplomats. A few weeks later, an office the Iranians say was a consulate in Iraqi Kurdistan was raided. Another five Iranians were detained there. They are still held by the U.S. and Tehran has had no access to them.

In addition, Ali Reza Asgari, a senior Iranian official who served in the cabinet of former President Mohammad Khatami, went missing in Turkey in February. His family and authorities in Tehran say he was kidnapped by the Israelis. The U.S. says he defected.

Whether the arrested Iranians were diplomats or not and whether Asgari defected or was kidnapped, in two short months, the detentions of the Iranians, the imposition of financial sanctions on Iran and the passing of two Security Council Resolutions has seemingly provided the U.S. with the leverage it was seeking. Washington is suddenly feeling confident and is hinting a vague willingness to talk to Tehran from its perceived position of strength.

In this context, Iran's holding of the British sailors may serve as a signal to Washington that if seizing personnel from the other side is fair game for the sake of gaining leverage, then Iran can also play that game.

Rather than an act of desperation resulting from the onslaught of Western pressure, as some in Washington have interpreted Iran's actions, the arrest of the British sailors may have been a calculated measure to fight fire with fire -- but without targeting the U.S. directly (which surely would have caused things to escalate out of control.)

The revelation of what Tehran says is the second letter by the sole female sailor among the Brits, Faye Turney, seems to support this interpretation. The letter concludes with a call by Turney for British troops to leave Iraq. "Isn't it time for us to start withdrawing our forces from Iraq and let them determine their own future?" it said.

The letter's linking of the seizure of the sailors with the larger political disputes in the region lends support to the interpretation that Iran is -- at least at this stage of the dispute -- seeking to regain the leverage it lost when the U.S. began targeting Iranian officials in Iraq.

Iran may feel justified in responding to Washington's pressure tactics by targeting British troops in the narrow waterways between Iraq and Iran. But it's difficult to see an end to this duel for leverage. If Iran gets the upper hand, Washington may further raise the stakes and embark on a new set of provocative actions. And if Washington regains the edge over Iran, chances are that Tehran will respond in kind.

As each side increases the stakes in an effort to gain the upper hand in a potential future negotiation, tensions in the region increase, as does the risk for an uncontrollable escalation. Rather than improving their negotiation positions, both sides are closing the diplomatic window through this risky game of one-upmanship.

*Dr. Trita Parsi is the author of "Treacherous Alliances -- The Secret Dealings of Israel, Iran and the United States" (Yale University Press, 2007). He is also president of the National Iranian American Council ( (END/2007)

The Price of Not Talking to Iran

Tehran is waiting to strike a strategic deal with the West, particularly on Iraq. The Iranian foreign minister, Manouchehr Mottaki, said as much on Al Jazeera Television when discussing the Iraq Study Group report. The U.S. needs an “honorable way out of Iraq,” he said, and Iran “is in a position to help.” In a statement published by an Iranian news agency, he added that “Iran will support any policies returning security, stability and territorial integrity to Iraq,” and that it “considers withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq and leaving security to the Iraqi government as the most suitable option.”14 Tehran seeks a relationship that, at a minimum, near eliminates the risk for a military confrontation and recognizes Iran’s
legitimate security interests and regional aspirations.

In return, the West should demand extensive policy modifications from Iran, including respect for human rights and a modus vivendi with Israel


Trita Parsi is the author of Treacherous Triangle - The Secret Dealings of Iran, Israel and the United States (Yale University Press, 2007.) He wrote his Doctoral thesis on Israeli-Iranian relations under Professor Francis Fukuyama (and Drs. Zbigniew Brzezinski, R. K. Ramazani, Jakub Grygiel, Charles Doran) at Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies in 2006

Why warfare? Lessons from the past

Steven A. LeBlanc

One approach to understanding the reasons for warfare is to study deep history.
Archaeology, anthropology, ethnohistory, and related disciplines provide great time depth for studying war. They also provide information on how and why warfare took place in a wide array of cultures. Yet this highly relevant information is often ignored. Most political scientists and historians who consider the reasons for warfare start with the modern era, or even the 1800s; fewer go back to the ancient Greeks. And almost all consider only the cultures of Europe and other state-level societies such as China. Click

If we ever hope to end warfare we must first understand why it occurs. Because this is trivially obvious, it is surprising how poorly studied warfare is. Considerable work has been done on the details of particular wars and the events leading up to them, but little has been done to find the underlying reasons for warfare in general. My colleague Kevin Hill and I recently undertook a brief survey of courses on warfare taught at fifteen major research universities. We found numerous courses on specific wars, eighteen on the concepts and methods of war, and only six that we could construe as examinations of the general causes of warfare - and even those were based in a single discipline.

This lack is probably due in part to our approach to social problems in general. Most people tend to think that common sense is adequate for solving them. But we abandoned the commonsense approach to problems in physics and biology long ago, with the result that we have made great progress in these sciences. Despite its obvious importance, there has been little application of the scientific method of hypothesis, comparison, and testing to unearthing the causes of warfare.

One approach to understanding the reasons for warfare is to study deep history. Archaeology, anthropology, ethnohistory, and related disciplines provide great time depth for studying war. They also provide information on how and why warfare took place in a wide array of cultures. Yet this highly relevant information is often ignored. Most political scientists and historians who consider the reasons for warfare start with the modern era, or even the iSoos; fewer go back to the ancient Greeks. And almost all consider only the cultures of Europe and other state-level societies such as China. These studies are relevant, but they are too limited to exhibit general patterns over the entire span of human history and prehistory. Discerning whether or not human warfare has a genetic base, for instance, is an impossible task to accomplish with such limited scope; instead, we must examine evidence from deep history and worldwide ethnography, which represent most of human history and most of human cultural variability.


The global study of warfare is necessary to determine whether war has a single cause or many different causes. If the causes of war have varied over time, then we must discern how and why this is the case. Prima facie, it appears that some modern wars, particularly in the West, are different from wars before the twentieth century, whereas recent regional wars in Africa and Asia appear to have the same causes as ancient wars. If significant changes in the nature of warfare took place in the modern era, knowing how and why such changes arose is necessary for understanding modern wars.

One problem with studying warfare is how to define it. Use of such criteria as the presence of standing armies and professional soldiers eliminates consideration of warfare during most of human history. On the other hand, including homicide and intragroup feuding, while relevant to the study of violence, makes the study of war difficult because it mixes behaviors that have very different causes.

Definitions of war must not be dependent on group size or methods of fighting if they are to be useful in studying past warfare. One productive approach is to view warfare simply as socially sanctioned conflict between independent groups or polities. This enables us to include warfare in all types of human societies throughout history.

Quite a bit is known about warfare in the deep past, and about warfare in nonstate societies that have not been affected by nation-states. One obvious conclusion is that warfare was frequent long before complex societies developed. This generalization is clearly established by Lawrence Keeley in War Before Civilization, and was also discussed recently by Richard Wrangham and Raymond C. Kelly.1

Such warfare was chronic, virtually annual. Few societies experienced even one generation without significant warfare. Regardless of its frequency, almost all societies lived in fear of attack. Great efforts, often at considerable costs, were made to live in protected places - such as on the tops of windswept hills and on the faces of cliffs far from water supplies - and to build fortifications. Some groups lived in settlements that were larger or more compact than optimum, simply for defense. The deadliness of war made these measures inevitable. Estimates of around 25 percent of males dying from warfare are derived for virtually all continents, for foragers and egalitarian farmers alike. The probability of dying as a result of warfare was, in fact, much higher in the past than it is today.

Even those few societies described as peaceful were neither inherently nor historically peaceful. For example, archaeological evidence now shows that the SaIishian tribes of the Plateau area of western North America, who had no remembered history of warfare when studied by anthropologists in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, had had significant warfare a few centuries earlier. One class of so-called peaceful societies consists of those that underwent demographic collapse and radical subsistence deprivation as the result of Western expansion. This is an important group from whom we can learn a great deal about the causes of warfare and of peace, but they do not provide evidence for societies that have learned to avoid war. Other so-called peaceful societies are foragers who have become symbiotic with nearby farmers, such as the Pygmies of Central Africa or the Semang of Malaysia. In both cases, the farmers fight intensively with each other while the foragers stand by outside of the conflict. Again, this is not proof of inherently peaceful societies.

Gandhi vs. terrorism

Gandhi vs. terrorism

Daedalus, Winter 2007 by Juergensmeyer, Mark

Immediately after the September 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, the idea of taking a nonviolent stance in response to terrorism would have been dismissed out of hand. But now, after the invasion and occupation of two Muslim countries by the U.S. military, the loss of thousands of American soldiers and tens of thousands of innocent Afghanis and Iraqis, and the start of a global jihadi war that seems unending, virtually any alternative seems worth considering. It is in this context that various forms of less militant response, including the methods of conflict resolution adopted by India's nationalist leader, Mohandas Gandhi, deserve a second look.

Like us, Gandhi had to deal with terrorism, and his responses show that he was a tough-minded realist. I say this knowing that this image of Gandhi is quite different from what most Westerners have in mind when they think of him. The popular view in Europe and the United States is the one a circle of Western pacifists writing in the 19205 promoted - the image of Gandhi as a saint.

In a 1921 lecture on "Who is the Greatest Man in the World Today?" John Haynes Holmes, the pastor of New York City's largest liberal congregation, extolled not Lenin or Woodrow Wilson or Sun Yat-sen but someone whom most of the crowd thronging the hall that day had never heard of- Mohandas Gandhi.1 Holmes, who was later credited with being the West's discoverer of Gandhi, described him as his "seer and saint."2

In fact, the term 'Mahatma,' or 'great soul,' which is often appended to Gandhi's name, probably came not from admirers in India but from the West. Before the Indian philosopher Rabindranath Tagore used the term in his letter welcoming Gandhi to India in 1914, members of an American and European mystical movement, the Theosophists, had applied this name to Gandhi. Most likely, they were the ones who conveyed it to Tagore, and since then the term has persisted, even though it was Westerners rather than Indians who first regarded Gandhi in such a saintly mien.

In India, Gandhi was seen as a nationalist leader who, though greatly revered, was very much a politician. Though Gandhi was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize on several occasions, the selection committee hesitated, thinking that the choice of an activist rather than an idealist would stoke political controversies. Gandhi was indeed in the midst of political battle, and in the process he had to address the violence of both his side and the opponents, acts that looked very much like the terrorism of today.

India was on the verge of a violent confrontation with Britain when, in 1915, Gandhi was brought into India's independence movement from South Africa, where as a lawyer he had been a leader in the struggle for social equality for immigrant Indians. In India, as in South Africa, the British had overwhelming military superiority and were not afraid to use it. In 1919, in the North Indian city of Amritsar, an irate British brigadier-general slaughtered almost four hundred Indians who had come to the plaza of Jallianwala Bagh to protest peacefully.

But the nationalist side was countering with violence of its own. In Bengal, Subhas Chandra Bose organized an Indian National Army, and, in Punjab, leaders of the Ghadar movement - supported by immigrant Punjabis in California - plotted a violent revolution that anticipated boatloads of weapons and revolutionaries transported to India from the United States. These Indian anarchists and militant Hindi nationalists saw violence as the only solution to break the power of the British over India.

Gandhi's views about violent struggle were sharpened in response to Indian activists who had defended a terrorist attack on a British official. The incident occurred in London in 1909, shortly before Gandhi arrived there to lobby the British Parliament on behalf of South African Indian immigrants. An Indian student in London, Madan LaI Dhingra, had attacked an official in Britain's India office, Sir William H. Curzon-Wylie, in protest against Britain's colonial control over India. At a formal function, Dhingra pulled out a gun and, at close range, fired five shots in his face. The British official died on the spot. Dhingra was immediately apprehended by the police ; when people in the crowd called him a murderer, he said that he was only fighting for India's freedom.

Several weeks after Gandhi arrived in London, he was asked to debate this issue of violence with several of London's expatriate Indian nationalists. His chief opponent was Vinayak Savarkar, a militant Hindu who would later found the political movement known as the Hindu Mahasabha, a precursor to the presentday Hindu nationalist party, the Bharatiya Janata Party. At the time of the 1909 assassination Savarkar was reputed to have supplied the weapons and ammunition for the act, and to have instructed the ardent Hindu assassin in what to say in his final statement as he was led to the gallows. The young killer said that he was "prepared to die, glorying in martyrdom."3

Shortly before the debate, Gandhi wrote to a friend that in London he had met practically no Indian who believed "India can ever become free without resorting to violence."4 He described the position of the militant activists as one in which terrorism would precede a general revolution : Their plans were first to "assassinate a few Englishmen and strike terror," after which "a few men who will have been armed will fight openly." Then, they calculated, eventually they might have to lose "a quarter of a million men, more or less," but the militant Indian nationalists thought this effort at guerilla warfare would "defeat the English" and "regain our land. "5

During the debate, Gandhi challenged the logic of the militants on the grounds of political realism. They could hardly expect to defeat the might of the British military through sporadic acts of terrorism and guerilla warfare. More important, however, was the effect that violent tactics would have on the emerging Indian nationalist movement. He feared that the methods they used to combat the British would become part of India's national character.

Several weeks later Gandhi was still thinking about these things as he boarded a steamship to return to South Africa. He penned his response to the Indian activists in London in the form of a book. In a preliminary way, this essay, which Gandhi wrote hurriedly on the boat to Durban in 1909 (writing first with one hand and then the other to avoid getting cramps), set forth an approach to conflict resolution that he would pursue the rest of his life. The book, Hind Swaraj, or, Indian Home Rule, went to some lengths to describe both the goals of India's emerging independence movement and the appropriate methods to achieve it. He agreed with the Indian radicals in London that Britain should have no place in ruling India and exploiting its economy. Moreover, he thought that India should not try to emulate the materialism of Western civilization, which he described as a kind of "sickness."

The thrust of the book, however, was to counter terrorism. Gandhi sketched out a nonviolent approach, beginning with an examination of the nature of conflict. He insisted on looking beyond a specific clash between individuals to the larger issues for which they were fighting. Every conflict, Gandhi reasoned, was a contestation on two levels - between persons and between principles. Behind every fighter was the issue for which the fighter was fighting. Every fight, Gandhi explained in a later essay, was on some level an encounter between differing "angles of vision" illuminating the same truth.6

It was this difference in positions sometimes even in worldviews - that needed to be resolved in order for a fight to be finished and the fighters reconciled. In that sense Gandhi's methods were more than a way of confronting an enemy ; they were a way of dealing with conflict itself. For this reason he grew unhappy with the label, 'passive resistance,' that had been attached to the methods used by his protest movement in South Africa. There was nothing passive about it - in fact, Gandhi had led the movement into stormy confrontations with government authorities - and it was more than just resistance. It was also a way of searching for what was right and standing up for it, of speaking truth to power.

In 1906 Gandhi decided to find a new term for his method of engaging in conflict. He invited readers of his journal, Indian Opinion, to offer suggestions, and he offered a book prize for the winning entry. The one that most intrigued him came from his own cousin, Maganlal, which Gandhi refined into the term, satyagraha. The neologism is a conjunct of two Sanskrit words, satya, 'truth,' and agraha, 'to grasp firmly.' Hence it could be translated as 'grasping onto truth,' or as Gandhi liked to call it, "truth force."

What Gandhi found appealing about the winning phrase was its focus on truth. Gandhi reasoned that no one possesses a complete view of it. The very existence of a conflict indicates a deep difference over what is right. The first task of a conflict, then, is to try to see the conflict from both sides of an issue. This requires an effort to understand an opponent's position as well as one's own - or, as former U.S. secretary of Defense Robert McNamara advised in the documentary film The Fog of War, "Empathize with the enemy."

The ability to cast an empathetic eye was central to Gandhi's view of conflict. It made it possible to imagine a solution that both sides could accept, at least in part - though Gandhi also recognized that sometimes the other side had very little worth respecting. In his campaign for the British to 'quit India,' for instance, he regarded the only righteous place for the British to be was Britain. Yet at the same time he openly appreciated the many positive things that British rule had brought to the Indian subcontinent, from roads to administrative offices.

After a solution was imagined, the second stage of a struggle was to achieve it. This meant fighting - but in a way that was consistent with the solution itself. Gandhi adamantly rejected the notion that the goal justifies the means. Gandhi argued that the ends and the means were ultimately the same. If you fought violently you would establish a pattern of violence that would be part of any solution to the conflict, no matter how noble it was supposed to be. Even if terrorists were successful in ousting the British from India, Gandhi asked, "Who will then rule in their place?" His answer was that it would be the ones who had killed in order to liberate India, adding, "India can gain nothing from the rule of murderers."7

A struggle could be forceful - often it would begin with a demonstration and "a refusal to cooperate with anything humiliating." But it could not be violent, Gandhi reasoned, for these destructive means would negate any positive benefits of a struggle's victory. If a fight is waged in the right way it could enlarge one's vision of the truth and enhance one's character in the process. What Gandhi disdained was the notion that one had to stoop to the lowest levels of human demeanor in fighting for something worthwhile.

This brings us to the way that Gandhi would respond to terrorism. To begin with, Gandhi insisted on some kind of response. He never recommended doing nothing at all. "Inaction at a time of conflagration is inexcusable," he once wrote.8 He regarded cowardice as beneath contempt. Fighting - if it is non-violent - is "never demoralizing," Gandhi said, while "cowardice always is."9 And perhaps Gandhi's most memorable statement against a tepid response : "Where there is only a choice between cowardice and violence, I would advise violence."10

Occasionally violence does indeed seem to be the only response available. Gandhi provided some examples. One was the mad dog. On confronting a dog with rabies, one must stop it by any means possible, including maiming or killing it.11 Another case that Gandhi offered was a brutal rapist caught in the act. To do nothing in that situation, Gandhi said, makes the observer "a partner in violence." Hence violence could be used to counter it. Gandhi thus concluded, "Heroic violence is less sinful than cowardly nonviolence."12

By extension, one could imagine Gandhi justifying an act of violence to halt an act of terrorism in progress. If Gandhi had been sitting next to the suicide bomber in the London subway during the 2005 attack, for instance, he would have been justified in wrestling the man to the floor and subduing him. If no other means were available than a physical assault - even one that led to the man's death - it would have been preferable to the awful event that transpired when the bomb exploded.

Responding to terrorism after the fact, however, is quite a different matter. What Gandhi argued in Hind Swaraj was that violence never works as a response to violence. It usually generates more violence as a result, and precipitates a seemingly endless litany of titfor-tat militant engagements.

Gandhi was adamantly opposed to the political positions that justified terrorism, but he was remarkably lenient toward the terrorists themselves. In the case of the assassination that occurred when Gandhi was in London in 1909, he did not blame Dhingra, the assassin of Curzon-Wyllie. He said that Dhingra as a person was not the main problem. Rather, Gandhi said, he was like a drunkard, in the grip of "a mad idea."13

The difficulty was the "mad idea," not the terrorists. Though he might have justified killing them if he had caught them in the act, after their tragic mission was over, Gandhi's attitude toward those who carried out terrorist acts was more of pity than of revenge. He would not let them go free, of course, but he treated them as misguided soldiers rather than as monsters.

Moreover, Gandhi thought it quite possible that the ideas for which the violent activists were fighting could be worthy ones. In the case of Dhingra and the Indian militants in 1909, for instance, they were championing a cause that Gandhi himself affirmed. Hence it would be an enormous mistake - foolish, from a Gandhian point of view - to fixate on terrorist acts solely as deviant behavior without taking seriously the causes for which these passionate soldiers were laboring.

A Gandhian strategy for confronting terrorism, therefore, would consist of the following:

Stop an act of violence in its tracks. The effort to do so should be nonviolent but forceful. Gandhi made a distinction between detentive force - the use of physical control in order to halt violence in progress - and coercive force. The latter is meant to intimidate and destroy, and hinders a Gandhian fight aimed at a resolution of principles at stake.

Address the issues behind the terrorism. To focus solely on acts of terrorism, Gandhi argued, would be like being concerned with weapons in an effort to stop the spread of racial hatred. Gandhi thought the sensible approach would be to confront the ideas and alleviate the conditions that motivated people to undertake such desperate operations in the first place.

Maintain the moral high ground. A bellicose stance, Gandhi thought, debased those who adopted it. A violent posture adopted by public authorities could lead to a civil order based on coercion. For this reason Gandhi insisted on means consistent with the moral goals of those engaged in the conflict.

These are worthy principles, but do they work? This question is often raised about nonviolent methods as a response to terrorism - as if the violent ones have been so effective. In Israel, a harsh response to Palestinian violence has often led to a surge of support for Hamas and an increase in terrorist violence. The U.S. responses to jihadi movements after the September 11 attacks have not diminished support for the movements nor reduced the number of terrorist incidents worldwide. Militant responses to terrorism do not possess a particularly good record of success.

Yet there is a recent example of a successful end to terrorism that was forged through nonviolent means. This is the case of Northern Ireland, a region plagued by violence for decades.

The troubles of Northern Ireland could be traced back to the British establishment of the Ulster Plantation in 1610, though the most recent round of violence began after a free Irish state was established in 1921. Catholics in the Northern Ireland counties felt marginalized in what they claimed to be Irish territory. Protestants feared they would become overwhelmed and banished from what they regarded as a part of Britain.

Violence erupted in the summer of 1969 in the Bogside area of the city of Londonderry. Following the clash, Protestants revived an old militia, the Ulster Volunteer Force, and militant Catholics created a 'provisional' version of the Irish Republican Army that would be more militant than the old IRA.

In 1971, Northern Ireland officials adopted a preemptive stance and began rounding up Catholic activists whom they regarded as potential terrorists. The activists were detained without charges. Within hours, rioting and shooting broke out in the Catholic neighborhoods of Belfast and adjacent towns. The government, rather than retreating from its hard line, pressed on, declaring a war against terrorism. The suspects were beaten and tortured in an attempt to elicit information. They were forced to lie spread-eagle on the floor with hoods over their heads, and subjected to disorienting electronic sounds.

The government's attempt to end the violence by harshly treating those it suspected of perpetrating violence backfired. The Catholic community united solidly behind the insurgency, and the violence mounted. Later the Home Minister who sanctioned the crackdown admitted that the hard-line approach was "by almost universal consent an unmitigated disaster."

The violence of the early 19705 came to a head on what came to be called 'Bloody Sunday,' when a peaceful protest march against the internment of Catholic activists turned ugly. British troops fired on the crowd, killing thirteen.

For over twenty years the violence continued. Tit-for-tat acts of terrorism became a routine affair. The British embassy in Dublin was burned, British soldiers were attacked, police stations were bombed, and individual Catholics and Protestants were captured by opposing sides and sometimes hideously tortured and killed.

In 1988 an internal dialogue began to take place within the Catholic side between a moderate leader, John Hume, and the activist leader, Gerry Adams. In 1995, former U.S. Senator George Mitchell was invited to Northern Ireland to help broker the peace talks. Initially they were unsuccessful, but then Mitchell returned for eight months of intensive negotiations. The talks involved members of Irish and British governments and eight political parties on both Catholic and Protestant sides of the Northern Irish divide. They reached an agreement on April 10,1998 - a day that happened to be Good Friday, the Christian holiday that precedes Easter.

The Good Friday Agreement is a remarkable document. It attempted to provide structural resolutions to several different problems at the same time. To respond to the public mistrust and insecurity brought on by years of violence, the Agreement set up Human Rights and Equality Commissions. It called for an early release of political prisoners, required the decommissioning of paramilitary weapons, prescribed reforms of the criminal justice system and the policies of police, and supplied funds to help the victims of violence. It also addressed the problem of balanced governance by setting up a parliament with proportional representation, an executive branch that guaranteed representation from both communities, and a consultative Civic Forum that allowed for community concerns to be expressed directly from the people. The Agreement also dealt with relations among the three key states involved - Ireland, Great Britain, and Northern Ireland - by establishing several councils and mediating bodies.

Prior to the Agreement, the British government and the paramilitary forces on both the Unionist and IRA sides had found themselves in a situation similar to many violent confrontations. Their positions had been staked out in extreme and uncompromising terms, and the methods used by all sides were so harsh as to be virtually unforgivable. Ultimately they were able to break through this impasse by employing several basic nonviolent techniques :

Seeing the other side s point of view. When the British began to open lines of communication to the radical leaders on both sides, they began to break through the 'we-they' attitude that vexes most hostile confrontations.

Not responding to violence in kind. A series of ceasefires - including unilateral ceasefires by the IRA - were critical in helping to break the spiral of violence. Even as severe an incident as the Omagh terrorist bombing on August 15,1998, did not elicit retaliatory attacks.

Letting moderate voices surface. Once the spiral of violence had been broken, and both sides no longer felt under siege, there was room for moderate voices to surface within the warring camps.

Isolating radical voices. The peace negotiators did not try to change what could not be changed. Hence they did not waste time in trying to reason with the militant Protestant leader, Reverend Ian Paisley, who had opted out of the process.

Setting up channels of communication. They involved an outsider - Senator Mitchell - to play a mediating role, and set up impartial frameworks of communication for the two sides, which had been deeply mistrustful of one another.

Peace in Northern Ireland was not inevitable, and there is no assurance that the agreement will last forever. Violence may again return to that troubled area of Ireland. Yet for a time the bombs have been silenced. At least in one case in recent political history terrorism has come to an end - through nonviolent means.

It is reasonable to ask whether the approach taken in Northern Ireland could work in other situations. Could it work in Kashmir, for instance, a region that is also claimed by two religious communities backed by powerful governments? It would not take a huge stretch of imagination to think that India and Pakistan could join in a settlement surprisingly similar to the Good Friday Agreement. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is more complex, but like Northern Ireland it is essentially a conflict over territory in which both sides have a moral and political claim. Since the Oslo Agreement in 1993 a negotiated settlement in the region has seemed a realistic though still elusive possibility.

But what about the global jihadi war? This is the global conflict that President George W. Bush designated "the war on terror" shortly after September 11,2001, and relabeled "the struggle against radical Islam" in July 2005. Osama bin Laden enunciated his own proclamation of this war in a fatwa against the United States in 1996. Bin Laden called on Muslims to join him in "correcting what had happened to the Islamic world in general" since the end of the Ottoman Empire. The aim, according to bin Laden, was "to return to the people their own rights, particularly after the large damages and the great aggression on the life and the religion of the people."14

Groups sharing an Al Qaeda perspective have attacked the very centers of Western power in New York, Madrid, and London, but their struggle is not in any simple sense about territory. It is a war without a frontline and without clear geographic lines of control. On the jihadi side it is a war without a conventional army and without the apparatus of a political state. For that matter, the jihadi movement seems to be without much centralized control at all.

With no one clearly in charge, negotiation is a difficult affair. It is unlikely that U.S. officials would hike into the mountains of Pakistan to chat with bin Laden, if indeed he could be found. And even if there were such conversations, what would be the point? He has no real control over the policies of the Middle East and is in no position to negotiate a settlement of the underlying issues of Western influence that his fatwa describes. To acknowledge bin Laden as a representative of the Muslim people would be to magnify his importance and reward his terrorism with political legitimacy. The United States has already exaggerated his importance - and unwittingly enlarged his support within the Muslim world - by singling him out as the global enemy of the United States. Negotiations with renegade extremists like bin Laden would not achieve any changes in underlying policy positions that would lessen tensions in the Middle East.

Behind the jihadi war is a conflict between ideas and worldviews. In saying this I do not mean to belittle the importance of the struggle, for ideas can have enormous power. But because the contest is between differing ways of perceiving the world and the relationship between political and moral order, the struggle has had a remarkably moralistic tone. The enemies are not really individuals as much as they are ways of thinking.

Both sides define their goal as freedom. On one side it is the liberty to choose a nation's own officials through democratic elections. On the other side it is liberation from outside influence and control. On both sides these positions have been magnified into a moral contest of such proportions that it has become a sacred struggle. The enemies have become cosmic foes. Large numbers of innocent people have been killed with moral indifference - or worse, with the self-righteous thinking that God is on one's side.

Is a nonviolent approach to conflict resolution relevant to the global jihadi war? Consider the guidelines that Gandhi enunciated in response to the terrorism of the Indian activists in London in 1909. They might be applied to the current situation in the following way:

Stop a situation of violence in its tracks. The first rule of nonviolence is to stop an act of violence as it occurs - or better, to prevent it before it happens. Gandhi would have approved of efforts to capture those involved in acts of terrorism and bring them to justice, and he would have applauded attempts to ward off future terrorist assaults through the legal forms of surveillance and detection that have been adopted after September 11. Even those measures that seem to be aimed only at giving the appearance of security have a certain utility, since they diminish the prime effects of terrorism - fear and intimidation. But even though Gandhi occasionally supported military action, including the British defense against Hitler in World War II, it is doubtful that he would have accepted large-scale military operations as a response to terrorist acts, especially if they left large numbers of casualties in their wake. Nor would he have approved of changes in the legal system that would deprive the public of its rights.

Address the issues behind the violence. The crucial part of nonviolent resolution is to look behind the violence at the issues that are at stake. Gandhi's goal was to form a resolution with the best features of both sides of a dispute. In the case of the global jihadi war, this would mean affirming the positive principles of both sides - though the 'sides' in this case are not only state and non-state organizations but also the concerned publics that stand behind them. Gandhi might have approved of the principles of both sides : the desire of many traditional Muslims in the Middle East to be free from American and European domination, and the expectation of those who hold modern social values that all societies should respect peoples of diverse cultures and be democratically governed. Since these goals are not necessarily incompatible, a resolution that accepts them both is conceivable.

Ultimately, tensions might not be fully resolved until there are significant changes in the political culture of Middle Eastern countries and dramatic reversals of the West's military and economic role in the Middle East. But in the meantime small steps can make a large difference. Any indication that either or both sides accept both sets of principles would be a positive shift toward reconciling the underlying differences and diminishing the support for extremists' positions.

Maintain the moral high ground. As Gandhi remarked to the Indian activists in London who proposed a violent overthrow of British control of India, violence begets violence. Proclaiming a 'war on terrorism,' from Gandhi's point of view, is tantamount to sinking to the terrorists' level. The very idea of war suggests an absolutism of conflict, where reason and negotiation have no place and where opponents are enemies. Though violent extremists are indeed difficult opponents, and Gandhi would not expect one to negotiate with them, he would be mindful that the more important struggle is the one for public support. This support could shift either way, and it would be a tragic error - and perhaps a self-fulfilling prophecy - to regard potential supporters as enemies.

Mistreatment of those suspected of being involved in terrorist acts can also lead to a loss of public support. Gandhi urged that the assassin, Dhingra, be treated with caution but also with respect, as any suspect in a crime would be treated. Torture, from Gandhi's point of view, is ineffective not just because it rarely produces useful information but also because it corrupts the moral character of a society that allows it to be used. This was the point he made in Hind Swaraj when he stressed that the means of freeing India from British control should be consistent with the goals a free Indian society would want to achieve.

Many of these guidelines have been part of the public debate in the United States in the years following the September ii attacks. Thus a nonviolent response to terrorism is already an element of political discourse. It is not a new idea, but rather a strand of public thinking that deserves attention and, Gandhi might argue, respect. As a pragmatic idealist, Gandhi would be pleased to know that nonviolent approaches to terrorism were taken seriously, not only because they invariably were the right thing to do, but also because on more than one occasion they have worked.

1 John Haynes Holmes, "Who is the Greatest Man in the World Today?" a pamphlet published in 1921 and reprinted in Charles Chatfield, ed., The Americanization of Gandhi : Images of the Mahatma (New York and London : Garland Publishing, 1976), 98.

2 John Haynes Holmes, My Gandhi (New York: Harper and Brothers, 1953), 9.

3 Indian Sociologist, September 1909, quoted in James D. Hunt, Gandhi in London (New Delhi : Promilla and Co., Publishers, 1973), 134. My thanks to Lloyd Rudolph for reminding me of this incident.

4 Gandhi's letter to Ampthill, October 30, in Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi, vol. 9 (Delhi : Publications Division, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India, 1958), 509.

5 Mohandas Gandhi, Hind Swaraj, or, Indian Home Rule, 2nd ed. ( Ahmedabad, India : Navajivan Publishing House, 1938 ; originally published in 1910), 69.

6 Gandhi, writing in Young India, September 23, 192,6. I explore Gandhi's ideas further in my book, Gandhi's Way : A Handbook of Conflict Resolution, rev. ed. (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2005).

7 Indian Sociologist, September 1909, quoted in Hunt, Gandhi in London, 134.

8 Harijan, April 7, 1946.

9 Young India, October 31, 1929.

10 Young India, August 11, 1920.

11 Gandhi, Collected Works, vol. 14, 505.

12 Gandhi, Collected Works, vol. 51, 17.

13 Indian Sociologist, September 1909, quoted in Hunt, Gandhi in London, 134.

14 Osama bin Laden, "Declaration of War against the Americans Occupying the Land of the Two Holy Places," first published in Arabic in Al Quds Al Arabi, a London-based newspaper, August 1996.

Mark Juergensmeyer is professor of sociology and global studies and director of the Orfalea Center for Global and International Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He is the author of numerous publications, including "The New Cold War?" (1993), "Terror in the Mind of God" (revised edition, 2003), and "Gandhi's Way" (revised edition, 2005).

PAKISTAN : Who took the ‘disappeared’ people?
President General Pervez Musharraf has once again denied that his government is behind the disappearance of hundreds of citizens. He said they could be “in the custody of jihadi groups” and spoke about the rising tide of extremism in the country, implying that the people who had “disappeared” have probably gone to wage jihad on their own or under the influence of extremist jihadi organisations. General Musharraf insists that “the government is not involved” and that “these people may have gone on their Kashmir, Afghanistan or Iraq”.

But most families protesting the ‘disappearance’ of their relatives insist that they were ‘picked up’ by state agencies or the police. There are at least 400 such people whose antecedents are known and they simply could not be said to have been interested in extremism or jihad.

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, which went to the Supreme Court with its list of ‘disappeared’ people, says that over 70 percent of the list comprises people who could not be labelled jihadi, meaning that they were not wedded to the aggressive Islamism or Talibanisation that General Musharraf talked about. They were Baloch and belong to the obviously secular local Baloch nationalist politics of the province.

There is no gainsaying the assertion that a large number of people in Pakistan have gone and joined various jihadi organisations. When they were recruited from such Punjabi cities as Gujranwala or Multan or Jhang the government of the day did not analyse the consequence of its jihadi policy. In fact, the organisations that advanced the cause of jihad were patronised by the state. Therefore the youngsters who were lost fighting in the way of God are not the ‘disappeared’ people that the families are looking for.

In fact those who laid down their lives for Islam never died or disappeared. There are magazines that continue to announce their martyrdom and many parents accept that as their reward for service to their religion. These martyrs were drawn from all the provinces and Punjab being the largest province population-wise lost more men than other provinces. In 2001, when the Americans invaded Afghanistan, mostly Pushtun youths were sent to Afghanistan to defend their Taliban brothers and many disappeared into the prisons of the warlords of the Northern Alliance.

The problem is with those who were picked up by the police and the security agencies and were never returned to their families. There are two types of such disappearances. Often ‘thanedars’ will pick up people on some pretext or the other to extract ransoms from their families. Many ‘disappeared’ cases belong in this category. Therefore the government must always be prepared to go after such branch-line officers and punish them for defying the habeas corpus law.

Then there are the cases of political ‘disappearances’. A mere glance at the details of some of the cases will make it clear that they are not those lured away by jihad or hauled up by greedy police officials. MM, a director of Baloch Voice, a television station based in Bahrain, went missing after arriving in Karachi, last year. His family alleged that he was arrested by intelligence officers at the airport. His family said he had gone to Karachi to recruit technical staff for his TV station. MM’s whereabouts remain unknown. HS, a poet and writer in Balochi, went missing after being picked up by intelligence officers in Turbat, Balochistan, in January 2006. He wrote articles and poetry regarding the poor economic and social conditions of the people in Balochistan. Desperate to learn of his whereabouts, his mother and relatives staged a hunger strike in front of the Karachi Press Club for over 40 days. More well known is the case of AB, a political activist of Balochistan, who ‘disappeared’ six years ago when abducted by the law enforcement agencies in Quetta. His children and relatives staged a hunger strike for months in front of the Quetta Press Club.

One can go on and on. The fact is that ‘disappearances’ have taken place during the years Pakistan has tried to cope with its ‘ungoverned spaces’. No one can say that it is a new phenomenon. Past governments too denied them to cover up the activity of their intelligence agencies. Not all the disappearances were planned by the government, but some were. The only way to tackle ‘disappearances’ is to pledge clearly that nothing against the law will be allowed to be done and that all efforts will be made to find the people spirited away by the state. Just because the state doesn’t have the ability or inclination to pursue the legal course and prosecute people for breaking the law, it doesn’t mean that it should capture and imprison people unaccountably. *

SECOND EDITORIAL: Save our children!

In South Waziristan’s capital city Tank, armed militants attacked a school to take recruits for their army “to fight the Americans in Afghanistan”. The local population, protective of their children, resisted, which led to a battle in which one militant was killed. After that, the frustrated armed men went to the residence of the principal of the school and kidnapped him and his brother at gunpoint. The townsmen say the principal has been taken to the tribal wilderness for punishment and requital.

The charge against the principal by the militants is that he informed the police when the militants came to take the students away for jihad. The principal and his brother were picked up from their house while the police was probably not even equipped to face off the terrorists. Senator Saleh Shah, the JUI-F’s parliamentarian from South Waziristan, has become active to get to the root of the matter and a jirga now wants to talk to the warlord whose men have abducted the principal. This is the state of affairs that negates the state of Pakistan. This is the situation that whomever rules Pakistan will have to tackle so that the people who inhabit this country can owe allegiance to it. *

Location of missing persons continues to elude kith-and-kin

KARACHI: No progress has been made so far in ascertaining the whereabouts of missing citizens, the deputy-attorney-general told the Sindh High Court on Tuesday.

“It is expected that some positive reply by the government will be forthcoming as the case of missing persons has also been fixed on April 10, 2007 before the Supreme Court,” DAG Akhtar Ali Mahmud said suggesting to the court to halt its proceedings till the decision of apex court.

The Supreme Court yesterday took up all cases of missing persons on a petition of Human Right Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) and directives have been issued to the Attorney-General of Pakistan to submit a positive statement in respect of such matter, he informed adding that as matter is sub-judice before the SC. Therefore this court needs to restrain itself from hearing the cases and should wait until the matter is finally decided.

The SHC’s division bench comprising Chief Justice Sabihuddin Ahmed and Justice Gulzar Ahmed was hearing petitions against illegal detention of persons including businessmen, students, and activists of political and religious organisations. In all the petitions, the law enforcement agencies are accused of arresting and illegally confining the detainees. However, the LEAs deny the charge.

The missing persons are: Ali Mohammad, a religious scholar, missing since May 5, 2004 from Gulshan-e-Iqbal area; Munir Mengal, a TV director of the ‘Baloch Voice’, since April 4, 2006 from Karachi airport; Munir Shakir, since May 16, 2006, from Karachi airport; Allah Ditto, alias Asif Baladi, missing since June 26, 2006; Ejaz Ahmed, activist of Mohajir Qaumi Movement, missing since February 10, 2006; President of the Balochistan National Movement, Quetta, Ghulam Nabi Baloch; Jamhoori Watan Party, Sindh, President, Sher Mohammad Baloch, since December 3, 2006 from Lyari area,; JWP leader Saleem Baloch, allegedly again arrested by LEAs from Lyari area in January this year; Mohammad Faisal Akbar, missing since December 7, 2006 from Jamshed Quarters area; Mohammad Yousuf missing since December 20, 2006, from Nazimabad area; and Mohammad Shafqat, a salesman in a local pharmaceutical company, missing since October 17, 2006, from Karimabad area, Karachi; and Mir Hyder, husband of Faiza Ali Hyder granddaughter of the late Governor of Balochistan and Jamhoori Watan Party Chief Sardar Akbar Bugti, missing since December 7, 2006, from Sanghar.

On a petition against the detention of ex-Naval officer Mumtaz Hussain, who is now detained under the Security of Pakistan Act, the court took notice over non-compliance of order by the government.

The court had directed federal government to submit details including grounds of detention and date of arrest of the detainee and other documents, when petitioner’s counsel Rasheed A Rizvi, Advocate, appearing for Mrs Mumtaz Hussain, requested the court to direct the respondents to produce him.

He pointed out to the court that earlier in December, Col. Imran Yaqoob of National Crises and Management Cell informed the apex court that Mumtaz Hussain had been released but on February 17, the SHC was told that he was detained under the Security of Pakistan Act.

The court deplored that despite repeated directions no compliance has been made order of the court has been overlooked. The court also ruled out the DAG’s argument in the said case observing that such matters did not fall under the head of missing persons as whereabouts of the detainee has been ascertained and he was now in the custody of the federal government.

Mst. Zehora Mazola alleged that LEAs at Karachi airport arrested her engineer husband, Mumtaz Hussain, on his return from Dubai to Karachi on July 3, 2006. On a petition against detention of Mohammad Ali, the court directed In charge, Investigation, Gulshan-e-Iqbal police station, Karachi, to record statement of detainee’s wife Humeral, complainant and other witnesses against CID DSP Masher Mahan and other police personnel Shah Nanas, Faisal Nasser and ASI Salmon Shah who alleged that said police officials are involved in kidnapping the detainee whose whereabouts are still unknown, since May 5, 2004.

Abdul Hafiz Lacto and Ms. Nor Nazi Aghast, Advocates, appearing for other petitioners, also questioned the affidavits filed by the ministry of interior and defense secretaries filed in their respective petitions. However, DAG denied their allegation.

Adjourning the matter to April 17, 2007, the court asked the parties to ascertain whether detention matters, pending before this court, were also sub-judice before the apex court or not as the federal law officer is not clear as above said matters are also being taken up at the SC.

Turmoil in Pakistan: Baloch vow fight for independence

Turmoil in Pakistan: Baloch vow fight for independence
By John Stanton

Mar 30, 2007, 01:00

Since 1947, the Islamic Republic of Pakistan (Land of the Pure), a military dictatorship, has been a fragile entity perpetually on the brink of internal civil war, and constantly at loggerheads with India over contested Kashmir. It is a destabilizing factor on the Asian continent. The recent sacking of Pakistan’s Supreme Court Justice by President Pervez Musharraf in March of 2007 is just another one of many straws weighing on the central government’s back in Islamabad, a portent of what more is to come.

The Sunni dominant country is a nation-state in name only being held together by the force of its military and with the Machiavellian support of the USA. It is a powder keg of conflict pitting Pakistan’s ruthless military against tribal factions in the North along Afghanistan’s border and, in particular, against the Baloch in the South whose homeland is resource rich Balochistan.

In many respects, Musharaf’s Pakistan resembles the US puppet regime of Hamid Karzai in Kabul, Afghanistan. There, the central government has little influence beyond its seat of government in the capital city and any authority it does have comes from the barrel of a gun or the bomb rack of an American made military aircraft. And, in rather depressing respects, Islamabad’s handling of the Baloch and their homeland seems a mirror image of the US treatment of local Iraqis in the ongoing US misadventure in Iraq. But, one must have hope that the USA will learn.

PAK has NUKE: Anyone Care?

The CIA Factbook 2007 paints an even grimmer picture of the Land of the Pure. It garners a “high risk” mark for food and waterborne diseases such as bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A and E, and typhoid fever. It suffers from water pollution from raw sewage, industrial wastes, and agricultural runoff. Pakistan has limited natural fresh water resources and a majority of the population does not have access to potable water. It’s a transit country for opium. Yet, this military dictatorship overseen by Musharaff maintains a nuclear arsenal and each year, in the face of its internal strife, manages to find the funds to purchase weaponry from an assortment of international military contractors -- among them the USA. But the hard reality for the USA is that Pakistan, or whatever may become of it, will remain a chess piece for the geopolitical machinations of the USA, China, India and Russia.

If the National Security Policy of the USA makes any sense at all, then it’s Pakistan that the USA should be looking to target with UN sanctions or economic/military pressure, perhaps in conjunction with India and in consultation with China and Russia. After all, Pakistan is a failing state that already has nuclear weapons. And it is worth stating again that the country is a military dictatorship whose intelligence service -- the ISI -- is known to have a lot of animosity towards the USA, and has continually lent support to the Taliban. Moreover, US oil and natural gas concerns own 30 percent of the finds in Balochistan. It would be in the USA’s best interest to court the local Baloch rather than sit by and watch the government in Islamabad crush the Baloch. Lessons learned in Iraq should have taught the leaders in Washington, DC, something (anything?) about how not to make enemies out of local populations.

Strategic interests served

Balochistan is in the southwest portion of Pakistan and borders Iran, Afghanistan, and India. The province is rich in oil and natural gas and its mostly 800 miles of underdeveloped coastline is flush with an abundance of ocean resources. A portion of Balochistan resides in Iran and is known as “Sistan and Balochestan,” an Iranian province bordering on the Sea of Oman and Afghanistan and Pakistan. It is Iran’s poorest province and is home to roughly 400,000 people. Could the The US and Iran find some common ground for an independent Balochistan? Why not link the issue to current US and Iranian grievances with each other? Perhaps Iran cedes some territory for US concessions and economic aid. Once the troublesome Pakistani military is out of Balochistan on the Pakistan side, and the Baloch become independent and negotiate fair treatment for their people, and worthy prices for their land and resources, the Baloch might agree to stop attacking commercial interests.

The Baloch view themselves as an occupied territory and have done so since March 27, 1948, when the Pakistanis invaded Balochistan. Quoting Dr. Wahid Baloch, “Balochistan was a free sovereign independent state with its own parliament, the Dar-ul Awaam, the House of Commons, and Dar-ul Umraa, House of Lords. Soon after the creation of Pakistan, Pakistan invaded Balochistan and forcefully annexed it into Pakistan. From 1977-2005, Pakistan continues its crime against the Baloch people. Thousands of Baloch political activists and students have been arrested and are being tortured in secret jails. Many are missing, including Dr. Allah Nazar Baloch, Goher Baloch and Akther Nadeem Baloch. Pakistani military, paramilitary and security forces are given the task to arrest, kidnap or kill any Baloch who talks or thinks about freedom. More than 600 military check [points] have been established all over Balochistan to control the activities and movements of the Baloch people.

There are 60,000 Pakistani troops stationed in Balochistan and more are on the way. Balochistan has been turned into a military occupied war zone. Baloch people are living in fear and in hopelessness. They are desperately looking to the world community . . . for their help and rescue against the tyranny of Pakistani and Iranian regimes.”

Just so.

According to a recent report by Forum-Asia; Asian Legal Resource Centre, INFID; and Pax Romana; in Pakistan’s Balochistan province, more than 4000 people have reportedly disappeared as the result of military operations between 2001 and late 2005. They have not been produced before a court by the military intelligence agencies -- such as the notorious ISI -- and their whereabouts remain unknown.

Turkey to Pakistan: Treat Baloch like Kurds! Investors don’t care

China, through Islamabad, has already gotten a piece of the action in Balochistan. China’s Harbour Engineering Company recently helped Pakistan complete Phase II of the mammoth deep sea Port at Gwadar and it is open for business for all, it seems, except Baloch locals. Associated with that development effort are dozens of opportunities that are destined to cut out the local population: resorts, casinos, and the letting of commercial fishing rights are among those listed by the Pakistan Board of Investment that are, worldwide, normally associated with corruption. The PAKBOI showed its contempt for the Baloch when it indicated on its website ( that “ . . . Balochistan can provide land on easy terms.”

In 2003, the South Asian Analysis Group ( noted the many ways in which the Musharaff government has exploited the Baloch.

Military authorities have bought most of the prime land at throw-away prices.

Large-scale influx of Pashtuns from the North-West Frontier Province of Pakistan and Afghanistan, officially encouraged by the Pakistan Army, and re-settlement of Punjabi ex-servicemen in order to reduce the Balochs to a minority in their homeland.

Non-payment of adequate royalty to the people of Balochistan for the gas found in their territory, which has contributed to the economic development of Punjab, without any economic benefits for the Balochs; the displacement of a large number of poor Balochs by the construction of the Gwadar port and town with Chinese assistance without adequate compensation; the re-settlement of a large number of Punjabi and Pashtun ex-servicemen in Balochistan to work in the Gwadar port and Mekran coastal highway projects, in violation of the Government assurances that preference would be given to the sons of the soil for work in the projects; violation of the labour rights of the people employed by the Chinese construction company which is building the port; and the setting-up of three new cantonments by the army in Balochistan.

The anger over the non-payment of adequate royalty for the gas being supplied to Punjab and Sindh has led to a number of incidents of sabotage of the gas pipelines and attacks involving the use of explosives and landmines directed against the staff employed for the protection of the pipelines.

The construction of the Gwadar Port and the Mekran coastal highway has resulted in the displacement of thousands of Balochs from their ancestral land and the forcible acquisition of their land by the Government without paying them adequate compensation and without giving them suitable land in return. Moreover, fearing Indian attempts to sabotage the projects, the Government has forcibly removed the Hindus and many of the Balochs, whose loyalty was suspected, from the area, which has been declared a sensitive defence zone.

Balochs, who are suspected of being sympathetic to India, have been removed far away from the site of the Gwadar port. A large number of Punjabi and Pashtun ex-servicemen, whose loyalty to Islamabad is beyond doubt, have been re-settled in the Mekran coastal area to work in sea port projects.
Washington, DC! Hello! Listen to this!

According to Shaukat Baloch, here’s what would happen if the Baloch got their shot at nationhood. “If a referendum under the supervision of UN is held in Balochistan and the people are asked to answer ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to the question ‘whether Balochistan should be declared to be an independent country,’ it is certain that this question would answered in the affirmative by a large majority of people. If the international community seriously puts its pressure on Pakistani generals -- who are the de facto rulers even during civilian governments -- they would agree to it. Gas and minerals would be sold to Pakistan and India on rates fixed by Balochistan. In this regard no artificial problems would be created for the people of remaining Pakistan. Pakistan would be treated as a friendly country. Foreign companies would be invited to invest on further research of oil, gas and minerals.

Balochistan would be a secular, democratic country with freedom of faith, religion, thought and expression in a peaceful manner. There would be complete freedom of worship for all. No person would be allowed to preach hatred. Under the constitution, slogans based on religion, sects, etc. would be excluded from election campaigns. There would be a parliamentary system of government accompanied with an independent judiciary and a free press. Religious extremists would be asked not to meddle in politics. However they may keep their views with themselves. Unlike today, religious extremists will not receive funds in millions of dollars from ISI and other sources. Consequently they would remain peaceful. A Nation of Baloch of about 7 million will run and flourish in a way similar to Switzerland and Scandinavian countries. Professors, scientists and experts in other fields from the West would be invited to work in the universities and labs of Balochistan.”

The Baloch Nation wants Independence not just because they are being persecuted and cheated by both Iran and Pakistan with regards to their natural resources, said Shabir Ahmed. The primary reason is that they want to be free to govern themselves. Whatever the reasons for the creation of Pakistan , the illegal annexation of Balochistan by Pakistan is a bitter pill to swallow .

According to Ahmed, “Simply put the Baloch Nation will never accept Pakistani or Iranian rule . It is inhuman and cruel to expect people of different races and languages to become 3rd class citizens in their own land , and to be governed by aliens . With regards to what shape a future Baloch Government should take , the best role model in that respect is the British political model we have today . The House of Commons and the House of Lords . This particular system was up and running in 1947 , and then brought to an abrupt end by the illegal annexation of Balochistan by Pakistan. The Baloch are very different from their more fanatical immediate neighbors . Baloch society is naturally secular and very tolerant of other religions and races . However it must be noted that history shows us that the Baloch love their freedom and will never tolerate interference from outsiders , or alien rule. There are many a Widows sons who will fight to the bitter end to bring about an Independent Baloch State.”

An independent Balochistan is inevitable (as is an independent Kurdistan) and essential to peace on the Asian continent. The sheer will and tenacity of Baloch freedom fighters makes this outcome certain.

As anonymous said, “Dear Baloch friends. 90 percent of Balochistan is controlled by real sons of soil -- meaning Baloch Liberation fighters. Pakis and their cronies control few cities and towns in Balochistan. Bravo! Baloch Fighters. Victory belongs to Baloch warriors!”

John Stanton is a Virginia based writer specializing in political and national security matters. Reach him at

Turmoil in Pakistan: Baloch vow fight for independence

March 29, 2007

US : Blue Force Intel Problem

Blue Force Intel
Jeff Vail

The problem is collecting intelligence on our own forces—“Blue Force Intel.”

It’s a symptom of the deeper sickness of secrecy within our military. Open source warfare—the kind of thing increasingly practiced by outfits like al-Qa’ida—has far less of an issue with this. But the United States tends to guard information according to the classic method: the security of a secret is inversely proportionate to the square of the number of people who know it. Put otherwise, the US government doesn’t tell the US government what it is doing, and especially not what it is planning to do.

My most memorable experience with this occurred during the invasion of Iraq in 2003. As chief of intelligence for a squadron of electronic jamming aircraft (EC-130H Compass Call), I planned offensive and defensive components of our missions. Offensive components included jamming enemy communications infrastructure in the locations that most aided our advancing ground forces. This, naturally, required high-resolution understanding of what our ground forces were presently doing, and would be doing in the next day or two. Defensive components included avoiding those areas where our aircraft would be most vulnerable to surface-to-air fire. This, naturally, required high-resolution understanding of what our ground forces were presently doing (what areas they had cleared, what areas they had simply bypassed), and what they would be doing in the next day or two. Naturally, it was virtually impossible to get any of this information direct from the horse’s mouth.

Sure, at some central operations center (actually only a few miles from my tent, but on an entirely different base that required driving a half hour through downtown Doha) there were people representing the exact units that I needed information on, but they didn’t know what precisely their own units were doing any more than our own representatives knew what we were planning—it was a simple issue of information processing burden I hierarchy. We had enough time to plan our own missions, or communicate all the fine details of those missions to our representatives, but not both.

So, it turned out that the most effective way to get the information that we needed was to engage in our own, unsanctioned intelligence collection on our own forces. This may seem wasteful, but it involved significantly less information processing burden in a hierarchy the size of the US military than actually asking our army units where they are now and where they plan to be tomorrow. Plus, they wouldn’t tell us anyway. Sure, we were on the same side, but specific operational details of the kind we needed are on a “need to know basis,” and no matter how much we explained that we need to know to protect *you*, we still didn’t have the right kind of “need to know.” So we would debrief our own flight crews on their observations about our own units locations, we would deduce our own military plans from information that we could access about locations for our own satellite collections, UAV flight paths, etc., and we would scour the secure internet looking for ways to access other units mission planning files. It worked out OK.

Which reminds me about my favorite part of the TV show “24”: the utter fantasy of how easily and fluidly they access information and electronic systems that magically tell them what they need to know. Trust me, it doesn’t work like that.

Fast forward to the present. I’m still dealing with the same issues when I work with domestic infrastructure security matters. Consider the following scenario: assume for the moment that there is a possibility that we will attack Iran. Then assume that, after we attack Iran, Iran will retaliate by attacking inside the US. Now assume that you’re tasked with protecting against that retaliatory attack. Wouldn’t it be nice to know if, and when, we are going to attack Iran. Hah! It appears that I don’t have the need to know these things. So, I resort to the same old tricks, and go to work using our own intelligence infrastructure to collect intelligence on ourselves.

Another example of the idiocy of hierarchy

Financial Intelligence: How Arbitrage Forensics Provide Insight into Saudi Knowledge

The following is from guest contributor Jeff Vail. Jeff is an intelligence analyst focusing on energy and infrastructure-related issues. He is a graduate of the US Air Force Academy and a former USAF Intelligence Officer. Jeff previously wrote on the The Oil Drum about the increasing violence in Nigeria.

He discusses an interesting phenomenon with respect to energy futures prices, that long dated futures are limited in how much they can go up (but not down) based on arbitrage principles. Because the price of distant oil futures quickly rise alongside spot market prices when spot markets are moved by short-term events, we can infer that major producers such as Saudi Arabia think that the future price of oil will be much higher than the price at which distant futures are currently trading. This provides further support to the theory that they don’t believe their own statements on their future production or on the future price band for crude oil.
The Oil Drum | Financial Intelligence: How Arbitrage Forensics Provide Insight into Saudi Knowledge

Why Balochs are orphans on this earth?

Save innocent Balochs from Pakistani butchers!!!!!

We don`t think that if British Government follows the terms & conditions of Pakistani Panjabi Authoritarian rulers, they will spare the lives of British soldiers in Afghanistan. Pakistan is sending his trained military commandos to Afghanistn in the name of Talibans. Pakistanis are killing the British and NATO forces in Afghanistan and not the BALUCHS!!

As regards the story of hijacking many passenger planes in England by Pakistanis, the brain behind this plan were not Balochs but their "command and control" was the brain of Pakistani Military i.e. ISI of Pakistan. There are thousands of guys like MR. Rauf and Bin Ladan, who are in the direct protection of ISI of Pakistan.

U.S. financial support and modern weapons and Gun-ship helicopters were used against Balochs and not against the so-called Talibans. The American finanial aid was used to train "Jehadi-groups" to bleed British and NATO forces in Afghanistan.

After kidnaping & missing of 6000 Balochs, they are still being chased by Pakistani Military. Balochs are taking refuge in the mountains and some of them ran away to Gulf States, Afghanistan and Europe. Even the legendary Baloch leader hide him-self in the caves of Balochistan, after he was refused to get protection in the neighbouring countries due to the fear of Pakistani military. This resulted his martyr by the cruel Panjabi Pakis.

We appeal to the British Government that they should not be mislead and black-mailed by the Thugs of Panjabi Pakistanis. Beleive the fact, that
Baluchs are running away to be caught and killed by Pakistani Military. Baloch youths have left their homes and have taken refuge in mountains. They are using their "right of life" to protect themselves by counter attacks in Balochistan, and before death, they call themselves "Baloch Freedom Fighters" and with many names i.e. Balochistan front for Azzati, Baloch Army of freedom, Motherland Balochs unity, Brahue double fighters and etc etc.

The British Government should start a dialogue to bring conciliation between Balochs and Pakistani Military and protect the Baloch refugees under Geneva Covention and E.U. constitution. If these Baloch refugees are thrown before the Pakistani wolves, they shall be tortured and killed but Mr. Rauf shall only be investigated and not face extra judicial killing in England......and there exists an army of persons like Rauf under the protection of ISI in Pakistan and many in United Kingdom!!

"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do lnothing"...........Edmund Burke.

Friends of Balochs,
E.U. section.

Foreign Influence on Software

Globalization drives change. The immense economic transition that comes with globalization has brought an unprecedented prosperity to the world. The United States is among the chief beneficiaries. However, America and other countries have learned that with the benefits come new risks. Nations face different and unexpected threats to their safety. Opponents will look to the immense global economic machine created for commerce to find new ways to attack. Creating policies that can maintain economic opportunity while managing new risks is one of the most complex challenges that governments face today. This report looks at one new set of risks created by changes in how companies write software and considers how best to mitigate that risk. Download PDF

Back in the Game – Tribes and Society in Pakistan

Back in the Game – Tribes and Society in Pakistan
Hamid Hussain
Defence Journal, April 2007

It is not a question how much a man knows, but what use he can make of what he knows. Josiah Gilbert Holland

Human beings live with various identities and these identities transform over the course of time. Family, clan, tribe, ethnicity, nation and religion are some of the manifestations of these identities. These identities can be like circles and various circles interacting or at times clashing with each other. Intertribal relationship, access to external resources and interaction with central authority are key elements of the tribal society. Modern India took its current shape under British rule. In case of agriculturalist tribes inhabiting plains, central government had an upper hand and they were easily brought under central authority with little bloodshed. Centralization of state under British Raj had a mixed effect on the tribal structure of sub-continent. The effect of urbanization and attachment to central state structures resulted in weakening of tribal bonds especially in the heartlands. In case of tribes at the periphery especially Pushtun and Baluch tribes along British India’s frontier with Afghanistan, a different methodology was adopted. The terrain is rugged and can not sustain large scale agricultural activity. There is no revenue source which is the magnet for central government to assert its control more aggressively. Permanent stationing of large number of troops to keep turbulent tribes in check was not considered a cost effective approach. Indirect rule through tribal leaders and leaving tribesmen alone to settle their own problems was the preferred method used during British rule. Military expeditions were used intermittently to punish crimes. Pakistan continued the same policy with some modifications. Like all post-colonial nation states, Pakistani state has been trying to forge a national identity supplanting other identities especially in case of tribes at the periphery of the state. The results of these efforts have been mixed. In some cases, state has been able to successfully link various tribal groups to the concept of nation state through their attachment to the structures of the central state. On the other hand, some groups who were either not welcomed or resisted their links with central state at best gave only nominal allegiance to the state. They tried to confront the state whenever state found itself in difficult times.

Tribes at the periphery of the empires and their successor nation states have survived for centuries by raiding and plundering neighboring settled areas and joining invaders passing through their territories to seek fortunes in far away lands. Later with delineation of boundaries of nation states, smuggling became a major source of income for these tribes. Smuggling cartels of tribesmen engage in smuggling of luxury goods, alcohol and drugs worth billions of dollars between Gulf States, Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan. Prior to independence, tribesmen were not allowed to control resources in settled areas and their activities were restricted to their own lands. They were allowed to serve in paramilitary forces and army and after retirement these tribesmen would go back to their ancestral lands. Since 1947, a dramatic change has occurred and government institutions such as schools, colleges and hospitals have helped to strengthen bonds with the state. In addition, many educated tribesmen have found opportunities in lower and higher levels of government service. A number of senior civil servants and army officers from tribal territories have held high posts in the country. This has resulted in a dichotomy. On one hand, tribesmen are trying to get all the benefits of the centralized state and insisting on getting civil service and military job opportunities and sending representatives to national assembly and senate. On the other hand, they want to maintain their independence and no interference from state. This means that their representatives in assemblies are free to debate and vote on laws passed by elected bodies but same laws are not applied in their own constituencies. Similarly, civil and military officers from tribal territories enforce laws of the state except in the areas of their origin. At some point tribal societies have to confront this dichotomy. Clash of interests of urban classes and settled populations with those of tribal areas will invariably increase frictions in the society.

In October 2001, when U.S. forces landed in Afghanistan, Pakistan deployed paramilitary forces and regular army troops in tribal areas. Then Corps Commander Lieutenant General Ali Muhammad Jan Orakzai (a Pushtun belonging to Orakzai tribe and now Governor of North West Frontier Province) then Inspector General Frontier Corps (IGFC) Major General Hamid Khan (now Lt. General and Corps Commander Peshawar) and then Governor Lt. General ® Iftikhar Hussain Shah patiently worked with tribal elders and deployment was done without any violence. All these three high ranking officers were Pushtuns and this helped a lot during their negotiations with tribal leaders. Afghan front was quite for a while but in the last three years, violence is escalating. U.S. approach of aggressive military tactics in violence ridden Pustun areas of Afghanistan and overall hostility towards Pakistani tribal areas has complicated the situation. Increasing violence in Afghanistan is the main factor but without understanding intricate dynamics of the region and tribal politics, a knee jerk military approach looking only at the numbers killed without pondering over the end game plan will only bring grief to Americans and more bloodshed to the region. Under intense U.S. pressure, General Pervez Mussharraf launched military operation in Waziristn in 2004 against the wishes of even many members of the armed forces. The result was disastrous. Paramilitary forces and regular troops suffered heavy casualties and violence quickly spread to a larger geographic area. Military then embarked on use of heavy artillery, gunship helicopters and fixed wing aircrafts to regain momentum. This resulted in collateral damage and alienation of large number of tribesmen. The most devastating blow to government came when militants started to target tribal leaders allied with government. Government lost its intelligence assets as locals stopped providing information for the fear of retaliation from militants. In the absence of local intelligence, any military operation in tribal areas is doomed to fail. General Mussharraf quickly understood this and this was the major factor in his decision to cut a peace deal with local militants. This was necessary to give time to government to rebuild its local intelligence network; however the tough task was to convince Americans that this is the correct approach. Musharraf took N.W.F.P. Governor Lt. General ® Ali Muhammad Jan Orakzai on his visit to Washington and both tried to convey this point to the administration officials. Washington agreed to give few months to see the result of this approach. Escalating violence in Afghanistan and continued flow of fighters from Pakistan resulted in gradual intensification of pressure on Pakistan to do something. In February 2007, Vice President Dick Cheney visited Islamabad for heart to heart talk with Musharraf. He brought Deputy Director of Operations of Central Intelligence Agency with him to provide evidence of militant activity in Waziristan.

Washington wants swift action from Pakistan in Waziristan but unable to understand Pakistani dilemma. Pakistani security forces are operating under significant limitations. Most important factor is the perception that these forces are being used to help U.S. interests rather than Pakistani interests. The hearts of officers and rank and file are not in this fight and if active engagement is stretched, it may impact on the morale and discipline of the security forces. A small number of officers and men have been disciplined for their refusal to participate in military operations in tribal areas. In terms of manpower, paramilitary forces are overextended. Large numbers of Frontier Corps N.W.F.P. (recruited from tribal territories and settled districts, officers are seconded from army) personnel are deployed in North and South Waziristan as well as troubled areas of Khyber and Bajawar agencies. If another problem erupts in any tribal territory (sectarian or law and order), it will be difficult to rush paramilitary troops there. Frontier Constabulary (recruited primarily from settled districts, the officers are seconded from Police service) is also stretched thin. This force is designed for control of law and order in areas between tribal territories and settled districts called Frontier Regions (FRs) as well as serving as back up for police force in settled districts. More than two third of Frontier Constabulary is deployed outside FRs. This is one of the factors that militants have expanded their influence in FRs when they came under pressure in tribal areas. In case of any new crisis, government will have to use regular troops. In addition, a large number of Pushtuns recruited from settled districts of N.W.F.P. serve in Frontier Corps Baluchistan (an independent entity headed by a Major General).

Different groups of local and foreign militants based in tribal areas joined hands when Pakistani security forces launched operations against them. Foreign militants (including Uzbeks, Chechens and Arabs) and their local tribal allies fought against Pakistani security forces. It is inevitable that there will be differences among these groups about ideology, methodology and most importantly financial resources and these differences will result in armed clashes. The first shots have already been fired when tribesmen clashed with foreign militants (especially Uzbeks) and their local supporters in March 2007 resulting in death of over 100 people in Waziristan. It is not clear whether local tribesmen with their own agenda developed differences with foreigners or they are confronting foreigners at behest of government. The most difficult problem for Islamabad will be how to tackle this situation? Some will argue that it is better to let the tribesmen take care of the problem and leave government forces out of the loop. Others will argue that government should provide active support to local tribesmen in confronting foreign militants and their local supporters. Foreign militants may decide to strike Pakistanis security forces and try to provoke a large scale response in an attempt to incite tribesmen against government. It will be tempting for Islamabad to launch another large scale military operation to solve foreign militant issue once and for all, however the move may backfire sending tribesmen back into the arms of most extremist groups operating in the area. In short term, covert support with intelligence and arms to tribesmen and financial rewards for dead and injured tribesmen may be more than adequate. More important is to think about long term consequences. Even if local militants are able to solve the foreign fighters issue, this will invariably strengthen their own hold in the area, further eroding government’s authority and opening the doors of future armed conflict among militant groups. Case of Afghanistan is a classic example of such feuds perpetuated by external financial resources and complications of use of tribal militias by government. A number of factors are responsible for the escalating violence inside Afghanistan. A major factor is U.S. failure on military, intelligence, political and reconstruction fronts. It is unlikely that removal of all foreign fighters will result in cessation of hostilities in Afghanistan. A more broad based strategy and cooperation among all key players to find a grand bargain is the only viable option to bring peace and stability to the region. It will take a long time and patience on part of all players to bring back the equilibrium of influence of tribal leaders and government’s limited authority back to tribal territories. Tribesmen should be encouraged to discuss consequences of uncontrolled militant activity by a number of groups in their territories. Islamabad’s focus should be on tackling the issue of militants. Fundamental changes to tribal structure and administration which are long overdue but in current state of affairs are unlikely to succeed. Anyone who is negatively affected from the change will resist the change and will not be hesitant to use violence to thwart government’s attempts. This violence will be solely related to local affairs but will invariably contribute to general instability thus providing ideal environment for extremist groups to increase their influence. One example will show the complexity of the problem. In 1999, about 25 villages were detached from Mohmand Agency and attached to settled districts. Tribesmen usually do not pay land revenue and get electricity free of charge. Attachment of these villages to settled districts meant that they would come under Pakistani law and had to give up some of the privileges enjoyed before. This caused resentment and a small group calling itself Mohmand Resistance Movement attacked some government installations especially electricity towers causing hardship to a large area of Mohmand agency.

Efforts of coordination among U.S., Pakistan and Afghanistan have not been successful. U.S. set up a Tripartite Commission which gave an opportunity to military officers from U.S., Afghanistan and Pakistan to interact with each other. In March 2006, Washington brought Afghan and Pakistani military officers to Germany where issues of border security were discussed. In 2006, Afghan President Hamid Karzai suggested that tribal elders from Pakistan and Afghanistan should be invited to address violence in the region. A nine member delegation of Afghan Jirga Commission headed by Pir Syed Ahmed Gilani visited Pakistan in March 2007 to discuss the volatile situation in tribal territories of both countries. In the absence of a long view and concrete measures it is unlikely that simple gatherings of tribal elders will solve the complex problem. Divergent interests of different tribes and clans, intra-tribal rivalry, suspicions of key nation state players and presence of large number of players on the scene will make any comprehensive solution very difficult if not impossible. Violence in tribal territories will not abate as long as Pakistan and Afghanistan governments are at loggerheads with each other. It will be tempting for both governments as well as U.S. to use local tribal proxies to try to serve their perceived interests which will further increase violence in tribal areas.

Tribesmen are masters of taking full advantage from a crisis. Large sums of money are now available from different sources. Money for Jihad from rich Gulf countries, money to counter Jihad from United States, Pakistan, Afghanistan and money from other sources such as drug and transport mafia and Iran is flowing to tribal territories and tribesmen are happy to grab it from every source. Pakistani tribesmen not happy with Islamabad will go to Kabul while Afghan tribesmen not happy with Kabul will look towards Islamabad. Wazir tribal elders have been traveling to Kabul to plead their case. In March 2007, about 60 tribal leaders from Pakistani side visited Afghanistan and met with Afghan officials. They asked NATO and Afghan officials to deal with them directly rather than routing everything from Islamabad. Pakistan is playing the same game by working with some tribesmen on the other side of the Durand Line (border between Pakistan and Afghanistan). If violence escalates and Pakistan’s authority over its border areas wanes, then U.S. may have to re-adjust its mission in Afghanistan. Non-Pushtun Afghans are waiting for that opportunity. They may get restless sooner than expected. Division of Afghanistan along ethnic lines with Hindu Kush as border may be the intended or unintended consequence. In that case, Pakistani state will come under intense pressure with a clear danger of fracture along ethnic and ideological lines. Pushtuns will be major losers as violence will be invariably intra-Pushtun and the battlefield will be their cities, villages and mountains.

In Baluchistan, the situation is more complex. Here two different types of tribal forces are at work: Baluch and Pushtuns. Baluch tribesmen are operating under ethnic and nationalist umbrella. Baluch are alienated from Pakistani state and society. Their small numbers and negligible representation in various segments of the society is reinforcing their alienation. In the last sixty years, Baluch have risen several times against the state authority. Since 2004, violence has rapidly escalated in Baluchistan. Baluch militants attacking security forces, critical infrastructure of gas pipeline and railways while security forces responding by launching operations against Baluch. Members of three major tribes: Bugti, Marri and Mengal are actively involved in armed struggle against government. Government is trying to use intra-tribal rivalry and competition to thwart the efforts of hostile tribesmen. This is a recipe for long term instability. Sincere efforts of a comprehensive dialogue with Baluchs need to be put on a fast tract. Genuine grievances of Baluchs need to be addressed and Islamabad has to take Baluchs into confidence in all matters pertaining to development in the province. Pushtuns in Baluchistan are not monolithic. In addition to tribal divisions they have different political visions. Afghan Pushtuns based in Pushtun dominated areas of Baluchistan have been successful in maintaining some influence in that region. Insurgents fighting Afghan and coalition forces in Afghanistan have also found support among these Pushtuns. This support is based on religious, ethnic and tribal bonds. On the other hand nationalist Pushtuns see current violence in which Pushtuns are dying on both sides as against their interests.

Pakistan-Iran border is also becoming hot. There have been several shootouts between smugglers and other trouble makers and security forces of both countries. In February 2007, Pakistanis security forces arrested seven Iranian trying to enter Pakistan. There was disagreement between two countries about who should interrogate these suspects and in protest Iran closed its border. In early 2007, a Sunni group called Jundullah claimed attacks on Iranian security forces in Baluchistan-Sistan region. Iran is building a fence along its border with Pakistan which is the cause of resentment among Baluchs of both countries. In addition, this attempt of fencing of border by Iran will affect smuggling operations therefore smugglers will partly finance the activities of Baluch insurgents operating on both side of the border. Iran fearful of U.S. intentions, see Pakistan’s cooperation with U.S. with suspicion and worries that Washington and Islamabad may be colluding to cause headaches for Tehran by stirring trouble in Iranian Baluchistan. Some Gulf sheikhdoms fearing decline of their fortunes in case of success of Gwadar port are also quietly funding some Baluch armed groups. In view of increasing frustrations of Washington and Kabul, it is also tempting for them to support Baluch groups. They may see rise of ethnic and nationalistic Baluchs as a buffer against religious extremism emanating from the region. That project can be sub-contracted to Indians who will be happy to oblige. Indians may consider this option to use it in future as a bargaining chip over Kashmir. The deal may have a clause of ‘You stop supporting my terrorist and your freedom fighter and I’ll stop supporting my freedom fighter and your terrorist’. If instability of the area bordering Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran increases, Baluch may be tempted to emulate Iraqi Kurds and try to carve out their own autonomous region.

Everyone shares the responsibility of current dangerous situation in a volatile region. Washington is responsible for its short sightedness, arrogance, alarming ignorance of local realities and refusal to accommodate concerns of others. Afghans are responsible for infighting and tendency to jump on any wagon passing by for narrow interests and in the process turning their beautiful country into rubble. Pakistan and Iran are responsible for indiscriminately using Afghan proxies for their own agendas callously disregarding enormous loss of life and property at their chosen battlefield. Arabs, rather than channeling their petro-dollars for development decided to use their money for erecting forces of destruction and extremism. All of them are now complaining about the bitter harvest, blaming others while ignoring their own role. It is unrealistic to expect that tribal territories will be violence free. All necessary ingredients of armed confrontation such as tribesman’s love of his independence, suspicion or hostility against a distant and uncaring central state, rugged terrain, availability of state of the art weaponry, plenty of financial incentives, tribal rivalries and ideological indoctrination are in place and only a small incident can result in spontaneous or planned violence. A certain amount of conflict will be ongoing in view of clash of interests of various players. All efforts should be geared towards keeping violence to a minimum level. All parties especially nation state actors need to act prudently and avoid the temptation of using tribesmen for their own narrow interests.

Patience, an essential commodity in such an environment has never been an American virtue. U.S. and NATO need to re-assess their priorities and accept the ground reality that without regional cooperation and taking into consideration genuine national security interests of Pakistan and Iran, hope of a peaceful Afghanistan will be a mirage. On their part, Pakistan and Iran need to accept changed realties and desist from interfering in Afghanistan‘s affairs. They should do it not for Afghanistan but with a clear understanding that stoking such flames will invariably come back to burn their own house. They have the right to express their concerns but funding their Afghan proxies for a violent showdown is not in their own interest. They should learn a lesson from their previous such misadventures. Afghan government has to understand its own limitations and it should try to avoid confrontations with its neighbors. Regional cooperation especially among Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran is critical to defuse tensions in border tribal territories. Governments at loggerheads with each other and public accusations only give more room to non-state actors who will try to expand their area of influence at the expense of the state authority. This applies to all countries where Afghanistan will see its border areas coming under insurgent influence, Pakistan seeing the influence of armed militants encroaching on settled districts and Blauch militants gaining more confidence while Iran experiencing a jumpstart of insurgency in Baluchistan-Sistan region. U.S. and NATO troops will be in the middle of this web of intrigues and shifting alliances. If violence crosses a certain threshold unleashing centrifugal forces, then tribal forces of the region may become the catalyst for major instability and even possible fragmentation of three important states: Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran. In the last one hundred and fifty years, representatives of a central government (British followed by Pakistan) have penetrated deep into tribal territory and society with an attempt to control them and expand government authority. However, each attempt ended with some kind of accommodation with tribal leaders and practice of indirect rule. Ironically, one hundred and fifty years later, successors of the Raj and new kids on the block are learning the same lesson again.

Consider not only present but future discords … If one waits until they are at hand, the medicine is no longer in time as the malady has become incurable. Machiavelli

Dr. Hamid Hussain is an independent analyst based in New York. His website is