October 13, 2007

Mr Prime Minister: Resign



Source: http://retributions.nationalinterest.in/mr-prime-minister-resign/

Manmohan Singh’s continuance threatens Institutional integrity .

The defining feature of Manmohan Singh has been the refusal to take responsibility. Manmohan Singh has proved to be a pusillanimous prime minister–ready to crawl when asked merely to bend. Both internal security and economic reforms have been sacrificed at the altar of political expediency. Manmohan Singh never seems to have realized that he is no longer a bureaucrat but the executive head of the government.

After being repeatedly pushed around for three years by his allies– primarily the Left–the prime minister finally seemed to have developed a spine. He staked his personal reputation on the Indo-US nuclear deal. By throwing the gauntlet to the Left, the prime minister ensured that even those not exactly enamored with his style of functioning, viewed him with certain respect.

Unfortunately, the brave words haven’t translated into action. When the push came to shove, the prime minister–as he has done too frequently–threw in the towel. If a report in CNN-IBN is to believed, the prime minister was virtually threatened and humiliated in his meeting with the Left parties. It was quite simply battle of attrition. As we have come to expect, the prime minister blinked first choosing to swallow his pride so the government and his prime ministership could be saved.


But this is not merely Manmohan Sigh’s humiliation. India could live with that. It is belittling of the position of the prime minister. Granted in a coalition, the prime minister is merely the first among equals. It’s not necessarily a bad thing as it keeps dictatorial tendencies in check. But despite the process of give and take, it is well established that the final decision must rest with the prime minister. The bucks stops with him. By accepting the extra-constitutional authorities–the Left leaders are not even part of the government–Manmohan Singh’s meek surrender compromises the constitutional framework which is the bedrock of Indian democracy. It perpetuates a perverse system where power can be exercised by outsiders without responsibility.

We have been told, repeatedly, that the prime minister is essentially a good man. That maybe exactly so. Manmohan Singh’s personal integrity is unquestioned. However, of what use is such integrity when it undermines Indian democracy? Of what use is such integrity when it compromises the national interest?

India today stands at the threshold of greatness where she requires decisive and strong leadership. Manmohan Sigh had the opportunity of influencing India’s destiny as no leader in the past had done. He had the rare opportunity of not merely to voice policies but to actually implement them. On all scores, he has failed abysmally.

Offstumped has called upon Sonia Gandhi to let Manmohan Singh resign gracefully. I must respectfully disagree. It is not Sonia Gandhi’s call who is anyway preparing for her son’s ascension to the throne. It is Manmohan Singh’s. It is incumbent upon Manmohan Singh to ponder over his legacy. Does he wish to be known as India’s weakest prime minister? Is is his legacy limited to being a career bureaucrat destined to be a perpetual file-pusher?

This blog has in the past accused Manmohan Sigh of being ”the gatekeeper of 10 janpath”. I have seen no reason to revise my opinion. Indeed, from being the gatekeeper, he seems to have been elevated to the position of cradle-pusher for India’s first family. Is that a suitable position for India’s intellectual prime minister?

Manmohan Singh has failed to rule with grace. The least he can do–both for his legacy and India’s future–is to resign with grace.

Mr Prime Minister: Prove your critics wrong. Resign.

Kurdish Song : Festival in kurdistan

Pakistani taliban new video INTIQAM(revenge)



NEW VIDEO FROM TALIBAN IN WAZIRISTAN SENT TO PAKISTANI GOVERMENT part 1

Pakistani taliban new video INTIQAM(revenge)part1

NEW VIDEO from Pakistani taliban in Waziristan. In this video you can see the dead body of a Pakistani soldiers beheaded by fundamentalists among 16 Pakistani soldiers captured by the taliban

Here is a link where you can have a western news report and understanding of this video.



CAPTURED PAKISTANI SOLDIER SPEAKS

Pakistan : Clashes in Tribal belt leave hundreds dead

"SATYAGRAHA" and India's freedom movement

By: Dr.Dipak Basu, ivarta blog
10/10/2007

(The author is a Professor in International Economics in Nagasaki University, Japan)

Yogi Ramdev’s courageous statement that we must not forget the role of the revolutionaries in the freedom movement of India has called for a reexamination of the role of Mahatma Gandhi and his Satyagraha. "Satyagraha’ literally means insistence on truth. According to Gandhi, the doctrine of Satyagraha “came to mean vindication of Truth, not by infliction of suffering on the opponent but ones own self. Satyagraha and its off-shoots, non-co-operation and civil resistance, are nothing but new names for the law of suffering.”

Recently the Prime minister Manmohan Singh went to South Africa to celebrate the centenary of Satyagraha, which was started in 6 September 1906 in South Africa as a protest against the identity card that the non-Europeans were asked to carry in that country. What that got to do with Indian freedom movement against the British Empire is the question. The answer given by the official historian is that Gandhi through Satyagraha fought the mightiest empire of the world in a peaceful way, which is novel in both theory and application. However, the truth is very different from the official version of history of the freedom movement in India.

Gandhi in South Africa:

Gandhi arrived in South Africa in 1893 as an employee of a Gujarati merchant for a year. When he agreed to stay on in South Africa to serve the Indian community, he was provided retainers by Indian merchants to enable him to live in proper style as a barrister and entertain Europeans. He helped found the Natal Indian Congress, which was an elite organization, just like the Indian National Congress at that time, restricted to the very rich people and the empire-loyalists.

Gandhi had visited India for five months in 1896 and met a number of public leaders to secure their support to redress the grievances of Indians in South Africa. In his second visit for a year in 1901-2 he attended the Congress session in Calcutta and spent more than a month with G.K. Gokhale, who was very loyal to the British and was opposed to the ideas of freedom movement of Tilak, Lajpat Rai, Chittaranjan Das, Surendranath Banerjee and Bipin Pal. Thus, Gandhi has joined the Empire-loyalist camp within the Congress, disinterested in the Swaraj movement of Tilak.

Gandhi’s first Satyagraha:

Returning to South Africa, Gandhi began to defy the Transvaal Asiatic Ordinance, where the government wanted all Asiatic, Arabs and Turks to carry a pass all the time to prove their eligibility to stay in South Africa. It was not a big issue, as in most countries even today foreigners must carry such documents anyway. Throughout the Satyagraha, Gandhi emphasized that it was not so much for the rights of the Indians in South Africa as for the honour of the motherland, but which "motherland’ Gandhi was talking about was not clear. One of the most dramatic events of the Satyagraha was the burning of the passes. The question is did that help the Indians in South Africa. The answer is definitely negative. Indians were rounded up and deported in many cases. The campaign lasted for over seven years, and in 1913 hundreds of people went to jail - and thousands of striking Indian miners faced imprisonment and injury.

Even when General Smut decided to meet Gandhi, it was made clear that there would be no further immigration of the Indians to South Africa. Passes were withdrawn temporarily but soon after laws were passed to restrict the non-Europeans into designated areas in every cities; that was the beginning of the legal racial segregations in South Africa. By all means Gandhi’s Satyagraha was not a success, but that had not stopped certain people and the English language media in India at that time to propagate Gandhi as victorious against a racist government of British origin for whom Gandhi had worked as medical orderly in the war against the Dutch settlers in South Africa and became a recruitment agent during the First World War. Gandhi had practically no contact with the African and their liberation movement. Maureen Swan wrote in her book, "Gandhi: the South African Experience’:

In choosing not to attempt to ally with the articulate politicized elements in either the Coloured or African communities, Gandhi facilitated the implementation of the divisive segregationist policies which helped ease the task of white minority rule in South Africa.

The European rulers in South Africa enforced racial segregation and differential policies despite of Gandhi are Satyagraha and tried to incite Africans against the Indians and attempted to degrade the status of the Indians to just “coolies”.

When Gandhi left South Africa, he still believed in the British Empire though tentatively. He said, Though Empires have gone and fallen, this empire may perhaps be an exception....it is an empire not founded on material but on spiritual foundations....the British constitution. Tear away those ideals and you tear away my loyalty to the British constitution; keep those ideals and I am ever a bondsman. (in Martin Green, Gandhi: Voice of a New Age Revolutionary)

Impacts of Gandhi on South Africa’s freedom struggle were practically insignificant. Mainly African ANC (African National Congress), like its counterparts in the adjacent Portuguese colonies in Mozambique, and Angola, was strongly influenced, financed and armed by the Soviet Union and was not at all interested in non-violence methods of Gandhi. Nelson Mandela, in his speech from the dock in April 1964, pointed out that he and his colleagues had decided to undertake organized underground and armed resistance in order to avert uncontrolled violence unleashed by the racist government of South Africa against the black and coloured people.

Gandhi returned to India in 1914. Gandhi himself had twice volunteered for service in the First World War for the British, in France and in Mesopotamia, because he had convinced himself that he owed the empire that sacrifice in return for its military protection (in Martin Green, Gandhi: Voice of a New Age Revolutionary).

Gandhi’s Second Satyagraha :

Through extraordinary good fortune, due to the deaths of Tilak by September 1920 Gandhi in an extraordinary political coup was elected himself as the president of the All-India Home Rule League and steered a resolution in favour of Non-Cooperation to preserve the Khilafat but got rid of the freedom movement in the Congress session in Calcutta. Later all the important leaders of the Congress, Bipin Pal, Surendranath Banerjee, Ajit Singh were either expelled or neutralized by Gandhi. Tilak had gathered about Rs.10 lakhs, a huge sum these days to finance his freedom movement. Gandhi used that up to please the followers of Turkish Khalifa, who was defied by the Muslims in the Turkish occupied Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Syria and in Turkey itself by the reforming leader Kamal Attaturk. Gandhi and the Muslim leaders of India were ignorant about these political developments in the Middle East.

The agitation to save the Turkish Sultan by the "Non-Cooperation’ of the Congress party was initiated by the Khilafat leadership, not by the Congress. Gandhi without consulting other leaders of the Congress made these two issues his own by presiding over the All India Khilafat Conference in Delhi in November 1919, and started his programme of peaceful non co-operation with the British included boycotts of British goods and institutions to protect the Turkish Sultan, leading to arrests of thousands of the people for defying British laws. Thus, the second Satyagraha has nothing to do with the freedom movement of India and was a regressive movement to preserve the violent crude feudal Sultanate of Turkey who had colonized a vast part of the world, from Iraq to Greece with its inhuman rule.

The Khilafat movement was discredited by the Muslims in Malabar Coast who had resorted into massive violence to slaughter the Hindus in Kerala and Mysore. Gandhi called off the Khilafat movement after the Chauri Chaura violence without even consulting his Muslim allies. Gandhi’s decision created deep consternation in Congress circles. Subhas Chandra Bose wrote: To sound the order of retreat just when public enthusiasm was reaching the boiling point was nothing short of a national calamity. The principal lieutenants of the Mahatma, Deshbandhu Das, Pandit Motilal Nehru and Lala Lajpat Rai, who were all in prison, shared the popular resentment. I was with the Deshbandu at the time, and I could see that he was beside himself with anger and sorrow. (quoted from Indian Struggle by Subhas Chandra Bose, p.90)

Motilal Nehru, Lajpat Rai and others sent from prison long and indignant letters to Gandhi protesting at his decision to which Gandhi replied that men in prison were civilly dead and had no claim to any say in policy. In March 1922, Gandhi was sentenced to six years imprisonment. He was released after two years, but by then the political landscape had changed dramatically. The Congress Party had split and Hindu-Muslim unity had disintegrated. Sri Aurobindo said:”When Gandhis movement was started, I said that this movement would lead either to a fiasco or to great confusion. And I see no reason to change my opinion. Only I would like to add that it has led to both.”

Gandhi’s third Satyagraha:

Gandhis political influence was minimal for some years, until the Calcutta Congress in December 1928, where he demanded dominion status for India, and threatened a nation-wide campaign but he had also expelled Srinivas Iyenger from the Congress for demanding complete independence of India. Subhas Chandra Bose was expelled along with more than 200 of his followers from the Congress party for similar reason in 1939.

On March 12, 1930 Gandhi started a March in Dandi, Gujarat to break the law, which had deprived the people of his right to make his own salt, although for most of the people of India it was only symbolic as they never did used to make their own salt in any way. On April 6, 1930 Gandhi broke the Salt law at the sea beach at Dandi. This simple act was immediately followed by a nation-wide defiance of the law. This movement came to be known as Civil Disobedience Movement. Within a few weeks about a hundred thousand men and women, thinking mistakenly that it was the beginning of the freedom movement, were in jail, throwing mighty machinery of the British Government out of gear. Gandhi was arrested on May 5, 1930.

After his arrest, a more aggressive non-violent rebellion took place in which 2500 volunteers raided salt depots at Dharsana. In April 1930 there were violent police-crowd clashes in Calcutta. Approximately over 100,000 people were imprisoned in the course of the Civil disobedience movement (1930-31), while in Peshawar unarmed demonstrators were fired upon by the British. Gandhi withdrew himself from the movement. Sacrifice of the people was in vain. The British government had never withdrawn the tax on salt.

In January 1931, the Viceroy, Lord Irwin, ordered the release of Gandhi and together they signed the Gandhi-Irwin Pact, which called for an end of Congresss civil disobedience. In August, Gandhi went to London to represent the Indian National Congress at the Second Round Table Conference; the first one was held without Congress participation in November 1930. That Conference in 1931has failed mainly because of the change of government in Britain.

Gandhi returned to India and decided to resume the civil disobedience movement in January 1932. India was then under the repressive policies of the new Viceroy, Lord Willingdon. The Indian National Congress had been outlawed. Gandhi had restricted the civil disobedience movement to him and suspended it completely in 1934.Gandhi then had started his campaign against untouchability. Thus, Gandhi’s second Satyagraha also could not achieve anything much because Gandhi as usual refused to continue it. That was Gandhi’s last and the only Satyagraha as a mass political movement for the freedom movement.

Quit India movement is not a Satyagraha:

In 1942, Japan already liberated Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Subhas Chandra Bose hoisted Indian flags there. Free India government in exile or Azad Hind Government was recognized by the Soviet Union, Japan, Germany, Italy, Hungary, and Imperial China. Indian national army and Imperial Japanese army was on the doorstep of the British India. Gandhi refused to be outsmarted by Netaji Subhas and started his last mass movement, which was not a Satyagraha.

In August 1942, Gandhi gave forth the slogan Quit India for the British but he had no plan how to execute the programme. The Congress passed a resolution on 8 August 1942, which stated that, the immediate ending of the British rule in India, was an urgent necessity both for the sake of India and the success of United Nations. The congress resolved to launch a mass Civil Disobedience struggle on the widest possible scale for the vindication of India’s unalienable right to freedom and independence if the British rule did not end immediately. The day after the resolution was passed, the Congress was banned and all the important leaders were arrested including Gandhi. That provoked spontaneous demonstrations at many places and people resorted to the use of violence, not Satyagraha, to dislodge the foreign rule.

Unarmed crowds faced police and military firing on many occasions and they were also machine gunned by low- flying aircraft. Repression also took the form of taking hostages from the villages, imposing collective fines, whipping of suspects and burning of villages. By the end of 1942, over 60,000 persons had been arrested. Martial law had not been proclaimed but the army did whatever it wanted. The brutal and all-out repression succeeded within a period of 6 or 7 weeks in bringing about a cessation of the struggle. As usual Gandhi already withdrew himself from that movement within a few days after it has started.

Since 1942, Gandhi was busy making plans to partition India to create Pakistan, the idea of which Gandhi has accepted even in 1940, according to both B.R.Ambedkar and Sri Aurobindo. Nehru and Patel as representative of Gandhi were in regular consultations with the Vice-Roy of India on how best to help the British war efforts against Japan and the Azad Hind Fauz. Freedom movement was not in their mind.

Gandhi had initiated a number of his personal Satyagraha on a number of issues unrelated to the freedom movement; most of these were not successful. Sri Aurobindo made this comment about Satyagraha:

“Gandhi fasted in the Ahmedabad mill-hands strike to settle the question between mill- owners and workers. The mill-owners did not want to be responsible for his death and so they gave way, without of course, being convinced of his position. But as soon as they found the situation normal they reverted to their old ideas. The same thing happened in South Africa. He got some concessions there by passive resistance and when he came back to India it became worse than before.”

Gandhi’s fast in Calcutta in 1947 has ended communal riot only in Calcutta for a while, but thereafter the whole country engulfed itself in communal murders and mayhem. Gandhi’s fast in 1948 to force the newly independent India government to pay the due financial share to Pakistan was against his closest admirers and disciples, and it was bound to be successful. However, these have nothing to do with the independence movement.

Analysis:

It is a common belief in India and in the Western world that Gandhi through his non-violence Satyagraha has gave India independence from the British rule. The truth is somehow very different.

According to the British Prime Minister Clement Attlee, during whose regime India became free, the creation of the INA( Indian National Army) and mutiny the RIN ( Royal Indian Navy) of February 18–23 1946 made the British realise that their time was up in India. An extract from a letter written by P.V. Chuckraborty, former Chief Justice of Calcutta High Court, on March 30 1976, reads thus:

“When I was acting as Governor of West Bengal in 1956, Lord Clement Attlee, who as the British Prime Minister in post war years was responsible for India’s freedom, visited India and stayed in Raj Bhavan Calcutta for two days. I put it straight to him like this: "The Quit India Movement of Gandhi practically died out long before 1947 and there was nothing in the Indian situation at that time which made it necessary for the British to leave India in a hurry. Why then did they do so?’ In reply Attlee cited several reasons, the most important of which were the INA activities of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, which weakened the very foundation of the British Empire in India, and the RIN Mutiny which made the British realise that the Indian armed forces could no longer be trusted to prop up the British. When asked about the extent to which the British decision to quit India was influenced by Mahatma Gandhi’s 1942 movement, Attlee’s lips widened in smile of disdain and he uttered, slowly, "Minimal’.”

(in Anuj Dhar’s website: www.hindustantime.com/news/specials/Netaji/; Dhanjaya Bhat, The Tribune, February 12, 2006; Majumdar, R. C., Jibanera Smritideepe, Calcutta, General Printers and Publishers, 1978, pp. 229-230; R.Borra, "Subhas Chandra Bose, The Indian National Army, and The War of Indias Liberation’, The Journal of Historical Review, Winter 1982 (Vol. 3, No. 4), pages 407-439; http://www.ihr.org/jhr/v03/v03p407_Borra.html)

Indian soldiers of the Royal Indian Navy have started their revolt at Bombay harbour on 18 February 1946 in association with the growing unrest in India when the British had started mass executions of the members of the Azad Hind Fauz, as reported in The Hindustan Times, 2 November 1945. From the initial flashpoint in Bombay, the mutiny spread and found support all over India, from Karachi to Calcutta and involved 78 ships, 20 shore establishments and 20,000 soldiers. Industrial workers in Bombay area joined in. In Madras and Pune the British garrisons had to face revolts within the ranks of the Indian army. However, both the Congress and the Muslim League betrayed that revolt. Although both Gandhi and Jinnah condemned it, but it had a decisive role for the independence of India by forcing the British to realize they cannot depend on the Indian in the army, navy or in the air force. Lord Mountbatten has described India in 1946 as a burning ship in the mid-ocean.

Famous historian Ramesh Chadra Majumdar dismissed the contribution of Satyagraha to the eventual independence of India. He said, “ The campaigns of Gandhi… came to an ignoble end about fourteen years before India achieved independence… In particular, the revelations made by the INA trial, and the reaction it produced in India, made it quite plain to the British, already exhausted by the war, that they could no longer depend upon the loyalty of the sepoys for maintaining their authority in India. This had probably the greatest influence upon their final decision to quit India. (Majumdar, R.C., Three Phases of Indias Struggle for Freedom, Bombay, Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan).

Thus, one should not just believe in the official version of the recent Indian history, which has propagated that only Gandhi and Nehru through the Satyagraha has brought freedom to India. The reality is quite different, but was hidden so far due the massive state power to advertise Satyagraha, which as a mass movement has failed everywhere whether in India or in South Africa. URL: http://www.blogs.ivarta.com/india-usa-blog-column35.htm

Dr.Dipak Basu

The mocking of an India resurgent

By M.V. Kamath
Courtesy: Organiser

Presently, there is a civil war in Sonia Gandhi’s durbar. This tamasha has to stop. India’s march to progress should not be held up because of the weakness of a leaderless, visionless party that has long lost its bearings.

Who is ruling this country? Sonia Gandhi? Dr Manmohan Singh? Prakash Karat? Sitaram Yechury? M. Karunanidhi? Or is it Ronen Sen, the loud-mouthed Indian Ambassador in Washington?

The United Progressive Alliance is showing itself as neither united nor progressive nor much of an alliance. Bureaucrats are turning out to be an indisciplined lot. No Sen would have dared to insult Members of Parliament—or even journalists accustomed to be run down by petty officials—when Jawaharlal Nehru or even Indira Gandhi was in power. Ronen Sen is showing calculated arrogance by saying that he would not resign after a show of bad manners and worse culture. And the UPA government maintains an undignified silence. One can’t blame the BJP if it says that mid-term elections have become inevitable. The public is getting increasingly sick of the disorder prevailing in the country.

Instead of going to the people, Congress leaders are manipulating the media to propagate its views. The manner in which the media is still being used to defend the freedom-limiting 123 Agreement is an eloquent example. The truth is that Congress has no national leaders. For that matter not even good regional ones like a Govind Vallabh Pant or a B.G. Kher. Good man though he is, Dr Manmohan Singh can hardly be expected to travel throughout the length and breadth of the country as Nehru or Indira Gandhi did to speak for his party. Worse, the government is run by proxy. The power behind the shaky throne hardly represents India.

Ronen Sen might as well have described the Congress in his expressive language and he would have been more to the point. A most pathetic character is M. Karunanidhi. To call Shri Ram a drunkard and to justify it by saying that he was only quoting Valmiki is adding insult to injury. Would it be more appropriate to say—considering that his provocative utterances are attributed to his sense of humour—that he is showing a growing senility?

Karunanidhi perhaps doesn’t know that during Rama’s time there was no Nestle’s coffee or Darjeeling tea in the kitchen shelf. Soma ras must have been the standard drink then available. If the BJP objects to Karunanidhi’s reckless and abusive comments, it is neither showing “diabolical opportunism” as Sitaram Yechury remarked the other day, nor “disastrous communal polarisation”. The words “communal” and “secularism” are two of the most prostituted words used by our so-called ‘liberal’ intellectuals that have ceased to have any meaning except as terms of abuse. It is, to say the least, juvenile.

Yechury is a young man. He should remember how treacherously his party sold out to the British during the 1942 Quit India movement. And how his party under the questionable leadership of Comrade B.T. Ranadive set the cornerstone of terrorism in Telangana. The CPM obviously suffers from loss of memory. Insulting Hindu gods because Hindus are so accommodative and can even laugh at their own gods has become the touchstone of secularism.

This is not the 16th century when Hindus were disunited and disorganised and the concept of national unity was still a dream. Resurgent Hinduism is today on the march in every field of human activity whether it is Information Technology, Satellite Communication, Higher Education or other fields. Hindus are standing up to bullying whether by the United States or any other power. This is an entirely new world, in which we are living and which the CPM and their likes would do well to remember. Hindus in India are catching up with the world again to become, what once they were, leaders in the spheres of science, commerce, banking or technology. And nobody can stop them. Not George Bush, not the International Atomic Energy Agency dominated by White nations led by the United States, not by the NSG, not by anybody.

It is not Hindu chauvinism that is revolting but an entire civilisation that has long been suppressed but now is fighting back to recover its former glory. To say it is communal is to misuse the English language and be self-deprecatory. India is not out to humiliate any nation. Hinduism is the most catholic religion in the world and is faith-tolerant. But when it is insulted as it has been for centuries by invaders of all faiths and had to swallow slights silently, it had to react. And it is now reacting, firmly but with increasing self-confidence. What we are witnessing is not communalism but a self-reliant, self-confident people, tolerant of all religions and no longer apologetic about their faith as our secularists would want them to be—and as they were in the colonial and post-colonial period.

Hindus are not aggressors. They are not vengeful. There is no record of their having invaded alien lands. They do not claim to have exclusive rights to define divinity. But when they are mocked at whether by atheists or by people of other faiths, they are not going to sit back as in centuries past and keep their anger to themselves. The Yechurys and Karunanidhis would do well to kindly remember that. Neither the Congress nor the CPM truly represents India. The BJP does. It represents the soul of India, long suppressed. That is not communalism. Even when Hindus go abroad in their millions they pose no threat to the natives. There are as many Hindus in Britain as there possibly are Muslims but they pose no threat to the Britons.

If Guardian is to be believed: “Britons are now more suspicious of Muslims than are Americans or citizens of any other major western European country, including France.” According to the London-based Financial Times, “38 per cent (of the British) think the presence of Muslims in the UK is a threat to national security compared with 21 per cent in the US.” Hindus are no threat. They are invariably accommodative. The BJP is more secular because Hindus, by definition, are secular and tolerant. The not-so-subtle ways in which the Congress seeks to gain the support of Muslims is evidence of its own brand of disguised communalism. The party would do well to indulge in some honest self-introspection before it charges the BJP with its own sins.

What is now becoming increasingly evident is that the time for general elections has come and the issue cannot be brushed aside any longer. Presently there is a civil war in Sonia Gandhi’s durbar with Jairam Ramesh and R.K. Dhawan opposed to Ambika Soni. At the same time Kapil Sibal and Prakash Karat are at loggerheads and Congress is trying to distance itself from Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar on the wheat import issue even when Karunanidhi of the DMK, another partner in the UPA government, is demanding Cabinet posting to his daughter on terms laid down by him. This tamasha has to stop. India’s march to progress should not be held up because of the weakness of a leaderless, visionless party that has long lost its bearings. Source url: http://www.organiser.org/dynamic/modules.php?name=Content&pa=showpage&pid=205&page=30

An Open letter to Smt Sonia Gandhi




Source: http://offstumped.nationalinterest.in

With friends like these who needs enemies

Dear Smt Sonia Gandhi

The CNN-IBN today reported details of the Oct 9th meeting that saw the Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh humiliated by the Left Parties. Specifically, CNN-IBN’s Diptosh Majumdar, writes that several accusations were made against the Prime Minister including:

Why has the Prime Minister not visited any major Muslim country?

Why did the Government not side with Iran during the debate on its nuclear programme?

Why did the Government not condemn the hanging of Saddam Hussein?

You as the Congress President and the chief protagonist for Dr. Singh to enjoy the highest political office have an obligation to him as well as the Nation to confirm if this indeed is true.

You also have the responsibility to the nation to explain if this is how your party’s coalition government expects to conduct its foreign policy for the rest of its term now that you have publicly backtracked on your willingness to go to polls.

Specifically the nation demands to know how Indian National Interest is served by the Prime Minister choosing to visit or not visit a foreign nation based on whether its theocratic or not.

Isnt it odd that for a party and a coalition that thrives on swearing by so called “secularism” that those who support seek Prime Ministerial visits to theocratic states as proof of your commitment ?

The nation also demands to know how Indian National Interest is served by defending a theocratic state’s right to Nuclear Programme especially when the state in question is guilty of sponsoring terrorists and illegal proliferators.

This nation also needs to know how Indian National Interest will be served by condemning the execution of a convicted mass killer in a foreign land who is guilty by the way of having killed fellow Muslims by the scores.

It is ironic that you call those who oppose you on grounds of long term National Interest as “enemies” and those who humiliate you by holding a brief for fundamentalists, terrorists and genocidal mass killers (foreign ones at that) as your “reasonable friends”.

The leader of the opposition Mr. LK Advani called Dr. Singh today the weakest Prime Minister ever. The only reason Dr. Singh has earned himself that ignominy is because he was willing to step up and shoulder responsibilities that you yourself had abdicated. The only reason Dr. Singh continues to weather this ignominy is because of his commitment to you.

You stand guilty of having abused this commitment and not standing by his convictions purely to secure and advance your family’s political interests. There is a limit to which you can put your interests above the nation’s interests.

Out of respect and consideration for Dr. Singh’s credibility and dignity the least you could do if you cannot stand by him is to allow him a graceful exit. At his age and having once steered India’s economy his legacy cannot be tarnished only because you reduced him to a lame duck leader in the eyes of the people of this Nation and the International Community.

Please be honest to yourself and the people by letting him go on principle with his dignity.

yours truly

A concerned “aam aadmi”

October 12, 2007

Swarah: An Enigma


Swarah: An Enigma
By: Dr. Sultan-I-Rome


Despite the fact that the Pukhtun society remained tribal and to some extent acephalous, the lives and actions of the people had been regulated and governed by unwritten but well-defined and well-known customs, norms, codes and rules called Pukhtu, which is also the name of the language of the people.It is a commonly known saying that ‘Pukhtu is not only a language but also the code that governs the lives of those who speak it’. The term ‘Pukhtunwali’ is also used for ‘Pukhtu’. The term Pukhtu is also used for enmity, for firm stand on viewpoint or decision and sometimes for inflexibility and obstinacy. To an outsider and a casual observer the Pukhtun society might seem disorderly, but it was/is, in fact, a well net and regulated one.

Badal is one of the fundamental rather the most significant of all the commandments and codes of Pukhtu. In case of murder, beating, injury, damage to honour and so forth badal (meaning revenge in this case) is considered liable and is taken without consideration for its consequences and costs. Badal is to be taken not only by the person who had received damages in any shape, but also by other members of his family or even sub-tribe or tribe, not only from the particular culprit or aggressor but also from his other family members and even sometime sub-tribe or tribe. It depends upon the nature of the act committed and also on that of the aggrieved person or family or tribe, how to react and take revenge. They, however, also have the options to accept compensation or even to forgive.


Besides murder or taking revenge for settling the score and protecting and keeping the honour, in Pukhtu there are other rules as well for solving the issue peacefully and amicably and bringing an end to the would-be bloodshed. Under one of these rules, if the aggrieved party agrees to settle the issue amicably, sometimes the party who has done the wrong gives a girl in marriage to a male member of the aggrieved party. Sometimes the aggrieved party asks for the girl. The girl of the aggressive side betrothed with or married to a male member of the aggrieved party in such a manner is called swarah (also written as swara).

Although, swarah ( ) has been rarely practiced and may be misused in some cases, it is, nowadays generally been misunderstood and misinterpreted. The girl married in this way is termed–by those who fail to understand the practice properly–price of the blood, a scapegoat, “a penalty for being a woman,”1 and so forth. These are misreading. Swarah literally means the female who is riding. In absence of modern means of communication the people generally traveled by foot but the females of the well up families were brought to and from the houses of the father and the husband on horseback etc. If a bride showed lethargy and did not do domestic works she was often questioned that ‘swarah raghalay ye sah’ ( ) meaning ‘Have you come swarah (so nobly as on horse back) due to which you do not do work?’ It shows that swarah was not derogative or insulting term but honourable and prestigious, and that the practice has been instituted in good faith and the females thus married have been honoured and respected.

In the Pukhtun society it is the established fact and commonly recognised rule that not only in the swarah case the decision of the betrothal and marriage is made by the parents or other family members of the girl but is a general practice, too. Although, generally, in all cases the consent of the girl is somewhat sought in its own ways, the final decision rests with the family members. There is no difference in the manner either swarah or common marriage is arranged.

The significant aspect of the marriage arranged as swarah is that in this way both the families cement their relation by matrimony. The marriage becomes a bond to the effect that both sides would not resort to bloodshed in future. The offspring of the couple become a source of further strength to the relations. It further minimizes the chances of future bloodshed between the two families because in the Pukhtun society matrimonial relations are on the whole respected and maintained, which thus restrain the aggrieved family from resorting to badal. The marriage between the family members of the erstwhile enemies serve as guarantee of peace as planning for taking revenge by such family mostly become impossible, because the girl married may oppose it or leak out the secret of planning for taking the revenge, in case the planning becomes known to her. It also is feared and is possible as well that in case of violating the settlement and taking revenge, the girl now a member, by marriage, of the guilty family will not only disclose secrets but could also conspire with her paternal family to take revenge. This factor, thus, has worked as the force that restrained bloodshed between the families who not only settled the blood feud but also arranged such marriage. That is why such marriage not only has played vital role in bringing bloodshed to an end but it also turns enemies into relatives, and thus has remained an important code of Pukhtu. It also has been practised that both the parties gave their girls in marriage to each other in the course of the settlement of the blood feud when they have wished to further cement the peace and to do away with the least chance of breaking the peace in future.

The foremost important point, which is generally ignored while criticising swarah, is that not only the girl’s betrothal and marriage is decided by her family members and she has no say in the affair but the same is also the case with the boy as it is not the boy/person to whom the girl is betrothed and married to decide but his parents or family members or the mediators decide. Moreover, not only in the swarah cases the marriages are arranged but it also has been the common and universal way of marriage in the Pukhtun society. In the Pukhtun society, though somewhat consent of the male and the female is sought or at least they are informed, the final decisions are made by the parents or elders of the families concerned and hence almost all the marriages are arranged.

If it is unfair and unjust in respect of the female involved that she has no say or is denied the decision making power in her marriage affair, the same is also true for the male involved. It, however, is observed that the male side is generally ignored and hue and cry is made for the female side only. Those who are making hue and cry for the female side only, not only fail to apprehend the issue in proper perspective but suffer from prejudice and fall a prey to gender imbalance in favour of the females.


The statement of Dr. Sher Zaman Taizai that the woman married as swarah “is mistreated all her life. She is never regarded as an equal. She is persecuted”2 is sweeping generalisation. There may be cases of such a nature but it depends upon the nature and behaviour of the family to whom the lady is married. If they mistreat the lady married as swarah they would also mistreat the ladies married in their family in common marriages and not as swarah. The Pukhtun society, like other societies, is not devoid of such families and individuals who do not regard their women and mistreat and persecute them but this behavior is not specific to swarah cases.

Taking a few selected cases or examples and making them a base for conclusions could never produce true picture and tangible thesis. To assess the situation scientifically, obtain trustworthy results, and reach an unprejudiced conclusion, a comparative study is needed. In such a study all the aspects of marriage in the Pukhtun society might be studied: such as the manner in which the common marriages are done. For example whether the marriages are arranged by the families or by the males and females themselves? Whether consents of the individuals involved are obtained or not? If consents of the individuals involved are obtained so how? If they do not give their consents how much their opinions are honoured? How the ladies married in common marriages are treated, and what is the ratio of good and bad treatment? And what is the ratio of good and bad treatment with the ladies married as swarah? Only then will it merit writing on the topic.



Dr. SULTAN-I-ROME

Dr. Sultan-I-Rome belongs to Hazara, a village in Nikpikhel, Swat, NWFP,where he was born on April 28th, 1959. He passed his SSC from Govt. High School Kabal Swat. For the next four years of his education, he chose Govt. Jahanzeb College Saidu Sharif Swat. After completing his BA in Swat(1984) he left for Karachi to undertake studies for master degree in General History and Islamic Studies at the University there. He got his MA degree with distinction from Karachi University in 1987. He joined education department (colleges) NWFP as lecturer in History (1988). He has been promoted and these days serves Govt. Degree College Matta Swat as Assistant Professor of History.

Sultan-I-Rome has an unquenchable thirst and limitless zeal for objective and comprehensive researches into the different aspects of social and political history, culture and religion which have spurred and stirred him to invest his mental faculties and material muscle for higher studies in order to carry out more and extensive researches in his field(s). It led him to have his PhD degree in history from Peshawar University (2002). His PhD research thesis is in the process of being published as a book titled “Swat State (1915-1969):From Genesis to Merger, An Analysis of the Political, Administrative, Socio-Political and Economic Developments” by Oxford University Press, Karachi, 2007. Beside his academic research on Swat which, no doubt, is a landmark, he has carried out numerous researches, the finding of which have been published in Journals/magazines and books as papers and articles.

Source:
http://valleyswat.net/articles/swara.html

Modi eulogises Gandhi while NGOs scrounge phone records




Well the star attraction at the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit it appears was not a lame duck Manmohan Singh nor an apologetic Sonia Gandhi but a rather combative Narendra Modi. The CNN-IBN reports

Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi on Friday refused to take blame for the riots in his state in 2002 and said the people would judge him.

“I have asked people of Gujarat to be the judge on the issue, and there is no greater judge than them,”


More than what Modi did not say about the riots, it is what he said in the context of development that was interesting.

Breaking political stereotypes Modi highlighted how local communities can come together and take responsibility with the right incentives.

He said he believed in Gandhi’s idea of ‘Gram Swarajya’, according to which village-level representatives should be appointed unanimously as elections led to violence and bad blood. Modi said shortly after he became the Chief Minister of Gujarat, 11,000 villages were due for elections and he announced a scheme wherein any village that unanimously chose its leaders would be given a development fund of Rs one lakh.

The media meanwhile continues with its anti-Modi tirade. An issue that has been lingering in the background for a while now is the issue of Phone Call Records from the period of the 2002 riots. An activist NGO Jan Sangarsh Manch lead by one Mukul Sinha has been touting alleged Compact Discs that it claims as “evidence” of “nexus between politicians, policemen and rioters”. The CDs were supposed to have been procured by IPS officer Rahul Sharma.

Pouring cold water on this so called evidence two mobile operators Vodafone and Idea have written to the Godhra inquiry panel (Nanavati Commission )stating that they have not preserved the data of crucial phone records of calls made by mobile owners during the post-Godhra communal riots in Gujarat in 2002.

Now this is important for the NGO and the media will tout this as a conspiracy. Yours truly in his a day job is a Wireless Communications Expert. Having designed and consulted on Cellular Network, Offstumped can claim some knowledge on what call records contain in GSM/GPRS Networks. So here goes.

First off, nowhere the world over, including Europe the birth place of GSM/GPRS are call records, of the kind that the NGO is touting, preserved. In fact in the post 9-11 era on a specific query in Europe on preserving call records to track terrorist activities this is what the GSM Association had to say in its position paper titled “GSME Position on Data Retention Implications for the Mobile Industry” 23rd August 2005.

However, while LEAs have voiced a need for mandatory data retention requirements across the EU, there is still a lack of a clear and in-depth analysis of the benefits and the costs these proposals would have on society and industry, as well as the consequences for citizens and personal integrity.

Any EU-wide data retention obligations must be based on the principle that only data already processed and stored for billing, commercial and any other legitimate purposes be retained. Any requirements that go beyond this will have severe technical and financial implications and result in legal uncertainty for the industry.

So clearly what is retained is that which is processed and stored for billing purposes and not the raw data from the network.

Secondly it is also important to note what possible information the raw data could have contained. Much was made out by the NGOs of the call records to imply that they somehow provided accurate information on the position of the policemen and how they moved away when riots took place. It is important to note that GSM Call Records do not provide any direct information on location. What is however contained in the raw call records is something called the Cell ID. Now before one goes about drawing any inferences about location from Cell ID it is important to understand what the Cell ID means and does not mean.

The Cell ID refers to the strongest signal emitting base station that a give cellphone is communicating with. So at a given point in time any cellphone could be in the vicinity of one or more base stations and it is only signal strength that determines which Cell ID the cell phone latches on to and not location or distance.

Also the Cell sites typically span a radius that runs into a few Kilometres so there is no way to accurately pin point location, let alone draw inferences of the kind the NGO is claiming.

Lastly, this is most important. There is no way in GSM today for the Cell ID to be updated during a call. So if you are in a moving car or jeep and you started a call in Cell location X, and while you were driving if you traversed locations Y and Z, there is no way to establish that from the call records.

So clearly the raw call records cannot be the basis for drawing any kind of conclusive granular inferences on location that can stand up to scrutiny in a court of law. At best one can say a given cell phone was in the vicinity of a cell tower but that could be anywhere in many KMs of radius. Beyond establishing the sequence of conversations between players these phone records will reveal nothing by themselves.

Offstumped Bottomline: As Mr. Modi said, the people of Gujarat will have to be the judge of his record in the assembly elections. While the NGOs try to spin conspiracy theories there is only so much technology that will come to their aid. They will need much more than phone records to establish this alleged nexus.

Gujarat Riots and Sikh Riots : Quick Comparision


Shivraj Patil : Ajmer Sharif Dargah Blast

Moldova: the future of Transnistria depends on the Russia-NATO relationship

During the spring of 2007 a series of meetings between the summits of Russia and Moldova took place: at least ten in four months. A strange silence has following the events and the declarations that were made during those weeks, which appeared to be leading to a sudden and unpredictable 'solution' of the Transnistria crisis. The dramatic actuality of these questions - the risky parallel between the independence of Kosovo and the status of Transnistria and the withdrawal of Russia from the Treaty on Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) - lead to thinking that the calm is only apparent.

Elisabetta Sartorel

Equilibri.net (12 October 2007)




Since last March (when the Russian Secretary of the Security Council, Zubakov met Moldavian President Voronin in Chisinau) Russian- Moldavian dialogue on Transnistria have become more frequent. On 27th March Voronin sent to Putin a written suggestion which has been discussed by Stratan, the Moldavian Minister of Foreign Affairs on 6th April in Moscow. A few days after, Voronin revealing to a small group of co-workers the details of a plan for solving the crisis in Transnistria, decided together with Moscow. The special negotiator of Russian diplomacy, Valery Nesterushkin, visited Chisinau on 22-23th April, while Zubakov came back on 23th March and again in 15th June. On 10th June Voronin met Putin during the summit of CIS countries in San Petersburg and again on 22th June in the presidential residence near Moscow and on the 30th in Rostov-on-Don. During these last months negotiations are been kept under secret.

The importance of the crisis in Transnistria


The bilateral negotiations between Russia and Moldova, suspended after Voronin's changes towards a more pro-Western position a couple of years ago, have experienced a sudden turn which led to immediate economic advantages for Chisinau. All this is still linked to the fragile and temporary concomitance of Russian and Moldavian interests.

In Chisinau, Voronin’s presidential mandate entered its second half in 2007, without having reached any great political success, particularly considering that the unification of the country was one of his most important priorities and the solution to the crisis of Transnistria would give him back his previous popularity. Local election held last June showed disappointed electors which were searching for new faces: the Communist Party, even though it remains the first in the country, has registered a great moving back and capital Chissau chose a candidate from the Liberal Party, elected with 62% of votes versus 38% of his Communist opponent. Voronin must have been thinking that only a strong representative, such as Putin, would have the political force to solve the question of Transnistria; the beginning of the Russian presidential campaign would have then moved irreparably the attention of the President towards other topics. Voronin's policy is known as the 'two vectors' policy, orientated towards Moscow and Brussels. The preference for Moscow has revealed itself to be counterproductive, considering that Putin has found ground for influencing the Moldavian political agenda.

The so-called Moscow 'secret plan', whose existence was after denied by Voronin himself, arrived in the moment in which 5+2 negotiations (Moldova, Transnistria, Ukraine, Russia and OSCE, with EU and USA as observers) stopped in February 2006, seemed imminent. Few information explained in part the Russian interests as well as the aims of the Western negotiators. Among the warning points of the question, these two:

The dissolution of Moldavian Parliament and the Supreme Soviet of Tiraspol and the rebuilding of a new conjoined Parliament, with 18-19 seats for Transnistrian deputies;
The possibility for Russian troops to stay in Transnistria until the region is completely set up (ideally for 2 or 3 years, but realistically much more than that).


The former would give to Moscow a strong power of interference on the internal and foreign policy of Chisinau; the latter would contribute to perpetuate the Russian military presence in the breakaway region, openly breaking the Istanbul Agreements of 1999.

The contention on peacekeeping troops between NATO and CSTO

The sequence of the events have shown how the question has quickly reached international interest. The NATO countries decided that the withdrawal of Russian troops should be an essential condition for the ratification of the amended version of the CFE Treaty, which Russia has been asking for a long time. The presidential decree of last 13th July, through which Moscow suspended unilaterally its participation in CFE, has revealed how much importance is given to maintaining the Army in the region, because it is considered to be a strategic area for the security (not only energetic) of the whole Europe. The Kremlin refuses to admit the link between the two questions, supporting that it is a bilateral problem between Russia and Moldova. Anyway Transnistria represents for Moscow a fundamental outpost against the NATO advance towards East. The end of July was marked the 15th anniversary of the 'Agreement on Principles of a Peaceful Settlement of the Armed Conflict in the Transnistria Region of the Republic of Moldova' which caused the end of the civil war and the settlement of a military contingent beyond Nistru. The Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs celebrated the action as “one of the greatest success in the history of peacekeeping” which Moscow intends to carry on till “building a climate of trust and reducing the level of confrontation between the parties in conflict”.

On the occasion of the summit of the CIS countries scheduled on 5-6th October in Dushambe, Tajikistan, Moscow has discussed in CSTO over the creation of a peacekeeping force to employ on the territory of the member states (Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan). The Treaty on Collective Security, signed in 1992 by most part of the states emerging from the crash of the Soviet Union and made official in CSTO, prohibits to the members to take part into any other military alliances with other groups of states. In this sense, it follows directly the Warsaw Pact and its presence counterbalances that of the Atlantic Alliance. The new peacekeeping units in CSTO will be directed by the National Armed Forces in times of peace but will be placed under a unitary command – Russian of-fact- during the operations.

According to the General Secretary of CSTO, Nikolai Bordyuzha, they will be used in 'other countries in the world' by a specific ONU mandate, or 'on request of the concerned countries'. This statement is the most dangerous because it implies the possibility for Russia to disguise its military presence in 'its' territories under a peaceful appeal. During the 62nd General Assembly of the United Nations, the Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sergei Lavrov, has proposed to send a first mission where it is necessary, that is to say in the two breakaway republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. The following target would be Transnistria. This movement aims at countervailing the projects of Georgia, Moldova and NATO to replace as soon as possible the Russian troops by a military peacekeeping force under an international mandate. Under the CSTO flag Russia can in fact declare the internationalization of operations shaping them to its taste.

Perspectives to restart multinational negotiations

Voronin met again Putin during the meeting in Dushambe, to which all the Heads of CIS States have taken part except for Ukrainian President Yushenko, and discuss again over the Transnistrian question. Anyway Chilsinau is conscious of the obvious limits of any solution reached without the consent of USA and UE. It would be more convenient to find a bilateral agreement with Russia, in order to maintain the fair economic relationships recently reached and make everything formal in the field of 5+2. From September on there are several declarations in favour of restarting negotiations and Voronin himself is a strong supporter.

Yet, the continuous failures of the international community in reaching a solution on the status of Kosovo risk to weaken the value of the multilateral format. USA have already announced that, if no compromise should be reached by 10th December, they would support a declaration of independence - even unilateral - of the province with an Albanian majority. Moscow, which is against independence, has recalled that this scenario would constitute an important premise for acting towards the conflicts that are still not solved as to the Soviet heritage. The American recognition of an independent Kosovo would authorize Russia to act in the same way with Transnistria.

The intense diplomatic relationships between Tiraspol and Moscow make concrete this problem. For example, the candidacy of Marina Smirnova, manager of Transnistrian GasPromBank and Oleg Smirnov's wife, for the Duma elections. Among the few encouraging signs, there is the growing awareness of Tiraspol of being isolated. At the beginning of September, the 'tax on immigration' , that foreigners had to pay when entering the breakaway republic, was abolished. At the beginning of October Smirnov, after harshly rejecting the aids from the Moldavian Government for facing the consequences of the summer drought, had compulsorily to make a plea abroad, to the members of 5+2 format themselves.

Conclusion

The presence of Russian troops in Transnistria, under any form, continues to be the main obstacle towards reaching an agreement. Next two months will be crucial. The suspension of CFE Treaty, linked to the Transnistrian question, will be effective at the half of December, 150 days after the official announcement, subtracting Russia to the maximum limits that prevent from taking arms in the Old Continent. In these days the deadline for defining the state of Kosovo is approaching and it could lead to the unilateral declaration of independence with the USA support. Russia could therefore decide to proof the truth of its threats and lead Transnistria to independence. Maybe only the imminence of the Russian legislative and presidential elections could distract Putin's attention from these targets. This should suggest to USA and EU to be more prudent about the question of Kosovo.

Translation by Michela Mogavero

The Ajmer Sharif Dargah Blast


http://offstumped.nationalinterest.in/

The blast assumes significance for three reasons. It is not in a Congress ruled state, it targets a Muslim shrine and it follows weeks of social turmoil in Rajasthan.

The lack of a coherent national strategy and an incompetent internal security executive continue to hurt…..

COMMENTS

unnecessary propagating the myth of Shivraj’s prowess, the Home Ministry’s ‘intelligences’ when poor Patil -

#. Warned of blasts at religious places and
#. Said that “Intelligence agencies unfit to fight terror”

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/India/Intelligence_agencies_unfit_to_fight_terror_Patil/articleshow/2426669.cms

#.He has to finish 3 books by year -end. Can you imagine the pressure on him by the pub. to finish them.

So please excuse Petty Patil .


The Ajmer bomb was packed inside a tiffin box, obviously smuggled into the dargah complex by one or more terrorists posing as devotees, a Rajasthan police officer said, speaking on condition of anonymity. He said that prima facie it appeared to be similar, albeit weaker, to the bombs used in the Hyderabad blasts.

"Initially, people mistook the blast for the mock cannon fire that signals 'iftaar'. But soon I realised what had happened. I saw smoke and dust engulfing the dargah and two people lying dead," said Syed Shahnawaz Chisti, a member of the dargah management committee. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/








FAITH ATTACKED Terror targets Ramzan pilgrims at revered Sufi shrine in Ajmer Sharif

PALAK NANDI Posted online: Friday, October 12, 2007 at 0000 hrs

http://www.indianexpress.com/story/227456.html

Blast: 2 killed, 14 critical; victims were breaking fast; shrine safe
AJMER SHARIF, OCTOBER 11: Terror struck the highly revered Sufi shrine of Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti here when a bomb went off inside the complex this evening killing two persons and injuring at least 28 as thousands were breaking their day-long Ramzan fast just two days before Eid, a day before Friday prayers.


The site of the blast — that occurred at 6.20 pm — was the Aahetai-e-Noor, right opposite the dargah’s main shrine and the target was visitors and pilgrims from across the nation. There was no damage to the shrine.

Of the 14 critically injured, only three are local residents while the rest are from states like Maharashtra, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh and Orissa. The dead were identified as Mohammad Shoaib from Mumbai and Salim from Hyderabad.

“For years, my husband had been thinking of coming to the dargah to offer Ramzan prayers but it was only this year that we could make it. And now he is dead,” said Tajunisa Mohammad, wife of Shoaib. With tears in her eyes and all alone, she refuses to leave the bedside of her eight-year-old nephew Arshad, who had come with them to Ajmer. Arshad, too, is injured and Tajunisa is now waiting for his father to come from Mumbai.

Eyewitnesses said that just when the pilgrims had broken their fast and had begun eating, a deafening sound was followed by a cloud of dust. “I did not even realise what had happened. All I know is the sound of the blast and suddenly acute pain on the right side of my face and hand. Before I could get over the shock, I realised I was bleeding profoundly,” said 22-year-old Aasif Majid, from Anand in Gujarat. An engineering student in Bhuj, Aasif was attending the iftar with two of his friends who are also injured and admitted to the local Jawaharlal Nehru Hospital.

The bomb was placed in a container near a tree at the Aahetai-e-Noor and police sources said it was a low-intensity blast. “No foreign substance seems to have been used for this blast but one can only confirm this after forensic reports,” said a senior police official. Director General of Police A S Gill, who visited the spot late tonight, denied there was any lack in security. “The investigation is on and it is too early to claim anything,” he said.

Sources said a damaged mobile handset was recovered from the spot and authorities suspect this could have been used to set off the blast. It has been sent for forensic examination. “These are still early clues and there is every chance that the handset might belong to a victim,” said a senior police officer on the spot.

However, Gulabchand Kataria, State Home Minister who also visited the spot, said the state government had prior information about the possibility of such a blast but it was pre-occupied with the Gujjar agitation in the state. “The IB had informed the state government but the state government was busy with the Gujjar agitation,” Kataria said.

Said Sameer Safi, a resident of Delhi, badly injured in the blast, “I was so shocked and my head was spinning but I was more worried about my nephew who was with me. How could something like this happen at such a holy shrine?” While Sameer was injured in the head, his nephew had a narrow and lucky escape.

“We have no clue how he survived but we are very lucky as both of them were sitting just near the tree where the blast occurred,” said Sameer’s brother-in-law, Kamruddin.

Mohammad Hafis Shah, 50-year-old ice-cream vendor from Ajmer, has been attending iftar at the shrine for years now. “It always felt so good when the roza ended at the dargah but today was so different. Everyone was so shocked, women screaming and children crying. The holy month has suddenly turned sorrowful for all of us,” says Shah, who was also injured. The blast side was cordoned off while the dargah was kept open for the public and the prayers were held as scheduled.

Recent terror strikes at places of worship

Sankat Mochan Temple

Varanasi March 7, 2006

Twin blasts in city left 28 dead, injured over 100. Blasts took place on Tuesday, when the temple is usually packed with devotees.

Noorani Masjid

Malegaon Sept 8, 2006

Blasts on Friday coincided with the Shab-e-Barat. First bomb went off outside Masjid. Blasts at Mushaira Chowk and graveyard also. The toll was 38 killed, over 200 injured.

Jama Masjid

Delhi April 14, 2006

Low intensity blasts at India's most famous mosque left 14 injured. First blast took place as the faithful prepared for Friday prayers.

Mecca Masjid

Hyderabad May 18, 2007

14 persons killed, more than 50 injured in blasts and subsequent police firing in adjoining areas. Blasts took place during Friday prayers

PAKISTAN: THE STRATEGIC IMPLICATIONS ARISING FROM THE NEW TROIKA

by Dr. Subhash Kapila

Introductory Observations

Pakistan’s autumn of 2007 is witnessing the regrettable spectacle of an illegitimate Presidency being imposed by external powers along with a contrived “governance troika” of General Musharraf, as a President in civilian clothes, former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto absolved of corruption charges by an Ordinance signed by the military dictator as the next Prime Minister and General Ashfaq Kiyani as the new Chief of Army Staff of the Pakistan Army entrusted with underwriting the existence of the new ‘governance troika’.

General Musharraf has been an illegitimate self-appointed President of Pakistan for the last eight years. At every stage he has re-invented his indispensability to serve the strategic interests of external powers. General Musharraf has once again convinced the external powers which control Pakistan’s destiny that without him at the helm, Pakistan could become a strategic liability for them.

Succumbing to such fears raised by him General Musharraf and he brutally suppressing the demonstrations for restoration of democracy in Pakistan he has managed with external support to contrive his continuance in power as the President for the next five years. Constitutional respectability of a questionable nature has been sought to be imparted by the Legal Framework Order decreed by him after his military coup, “re-election by outgoing Assemblies rigged by him in 2002 and now ending their tenure, and Pakistan’s Supreme Court seeming to opt for the “doctrine of necessity” out of sheer coercive pressure by the military ruler.

So in the autumn of 2007, what does one find in Pakistan? The picture obtainable today is:
A politically illegitimate President of Pakistan in whose so-called “re-election” the people of Pakistan did not participate.
Political popularity of General Musharraf is at its lowest ebb in Pakistan. His duration at the helm of Pakistan till 2012 will not rest on popular Pakistani will but at the “strategic pleasure” of external powers.
The emerging “governance troika” in Pakistan is being termed in Pakistan as an “Americanized Troika”.
The emerging “governing troika” is a politically and morally tainted one except for the new Army Chief. General Musharraf and Benazir Bhutto stand morally and politically tainted by their record of broken political pledges made to the people of Pakistan. Benazir Bhutto has been in exile to evade corruption charges and conviction. Musharraf becomes an “accessory and accomplice to the fact” by pardoning her through an Ordinance as part of the political deal to contrive the new troika.
General Kiyani gets politically tainted in Pakistan as a “political stooge” of the United States. Pakistani news papers indicate that he has been in touch with the US Secretary of State from November 2006.

Essentially, the new troika continues to be a Pakistan Army- dominated one with Benazir Bhutto added as a civilian lightweight to give a façade of democracy.

In the past one of the bogeys that has been consistently raised in terms of regional and global security has been the dangers of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons arsenal falling into the hands of Pakistan’s Islamic fundamentalists or rogue elements of the Pakistan Army.

Where is the guarantee that the emerging “governance troika” of Pakistan comprising of military and political adventurers would prove to be “safe custodians” of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons arsenal? Yes, if this troika entrusts Pakistan’s nuclear weapons arsenal to safe custody of the United States, then one could concede that dangers to global and regional security would cease.

Coming to the main theme of this paper, one needs to examine the strategic implications of an illegitimate Presidency in Pakistan on the strategic interests of the United States, Afghanistan, Iran, China and India.

United States: The Major Strategic Implications

The United States as the principal patron of the Musharraf-Benazir Bhutto combine and having strategically invested in Pakistan heavily since 9/11 stands the risk of being impacted sharply by the uncertainties of an illegitimate presidency in Pakistan.

The United States must face the facts that the newly contrived political dispensation in Pakistan cannot be expected to last out till 2012. In its very composition, the political stakes are predominantly stacked against the United States.

Any or a combination of the following events can take place in Pakistan as a reaction to the present illegitimate political imposition (1) General Musharraf is assassinated (2) General Musharraf is eased out of power by Pakistan Army (3) Benazir Bhutto breaks away from the political combine (4) Intensification of separatist movements in Pakistan’s explosive western frontiers (5) Rise in Islamic Jihadi terrorism and suicide attacks on the Pakistan Army.

As this author has pointed out in a number of his earlier papers, the resultant situation in Pakistan for the United States would be reminiscent of the Shah of Iran in 1979. The Shah of Iran too was treated as an indispensable strategic asset of the United States like Musharraf is being perpetuated now.

In short, the end-game of the United States in terms of major strategic impact would be that Pakistan turns into a strategic liability for the United States like Afghanistan and Iraq today.

With Pakistani public opinion sidelined in American strategic calculations today, another likely prospect that Pakistan like Iran could become a long term adversarial nation with a nuclear weapons arsenal.

Some analysts have gone to the extent that any Sino-US armed conflict in the future could likely be over Pakistan rather than Taiwan as Pakistani public shifts away from USA to a full Chinese embrace in reactive anger.

The Impact on Afghanistan

Afghanistan is one country which is likely to be impacted most heavily by the emergence of the Musharraf-Benazir Bhutto combine and the new troika in general.

The credentials of Benazir Bhutto and General Musharraf in relation to the Taliban (which is the main threat to stability in Afghanistan) are dubious.

The Taliban as a potent force to further Pakistani interests in Afghanistan was created in the regime of Benazir Bhutto as Prime Minister of Pakistan. General Musharraf was then her Director General of Military Operations. He operationalised the Taliban for execution of Pakistan’s military designs in Afghanistan and creating a Pakistani proxy regime there.

With both Musharraf and Benazir Bhutto in power in Pakistan,once again they can be logically expected to proactively pursue Pakistani interests in Afghanistan through the Taliban, especially when it is a prime agenda of the Pakistan Army?

The approach of the Mushrraf-Bhutto combine towards ensuring Pakistan’s primacy in Afghanistan can be expected to be two fold(1) Political persuasion of the United States to pesssurize President Karzai to co-opt the Taliban in the governing structure (2) Prod and assist Taliban in stepping up military activities in Southern Afghanistan to destabilize the Karzai regime.

On both counts, the strategic interests of the United States, NATO and Afghanistan’s emergence as a moderate democratic Muslim nation are likely to suffer at Pakistan’s hands.

The Implications for Iran

Iraq with its de-stabilized political and military situation can no longer provide a secure base for any United States military intervention in Iran. The confrontational rhetoric between USA and Iran is getting shriller and military strikes by USA as an option cannot be ruled out.

In the given situation, Pakistan will be called upon to provide the main base for US strikes against Iran supplementing the US war effort from aircraft carriers within and outside the Gulf.

Iran should read the signs realistically. The Musharraf-Bhutto combine at the helm as political protégés of the United States would be hard pressed to deny Pakistan as a base for US military operations against, Iran. In any case the Musharraf regime has been permitting US Special Forces teams to operate in Iran from Pakistani territory.

The flip-side of the coin is that what does the United States do in case Pakistan under pressure of domestic public opinion, Islamist parties pressure and pressure from Pakistan Army shies away from its role as an “enduring ally” of USA?

China: The Biggest Gainer from the Ongoing Situation in Pakistan

The emerging troika in Pakistan may be an “Americanized Troika” as perceived within Pakistan. However, there is a caveat here. It is a troika which is likely to continue as an “Americanized Troika” only and up till the time the United States imparts political legitimacy to it and assists their perpetuation in power.

If this troika is pressurized by the United States to deliver on the strategic agenda that America has in view to bring them into power, the troika can be expected to become a “China Protégés Troika”.

One wonders as to why the United States policy establishment and think-tanks do not deliberate on this eventuality openly?

Pakistan has deep strategic ties with China generated by mutual convergence of strategic interests and in the case of Pakistan an eternal gratitude to China for providing it willingly with the sinews of its power-nuclear weapons and missiles arsenal.

China stands to be the biggest gainer from the emerging troika in Pakistan; let us not forget that while the Pakistan army and Musharraf have strong links with China, it was the Bhutto family which crafted Pakistan’s pro-China polices and a strategic tie-up besides brokering the Sino-US rapprochement.

India: The Major Implications

It would be futile for India to think that an “Americanized Troika” in Pakistan would not endanger India’s military interests for fear of US displeasure. In fact the contrary could turn out to be true.

In these last two weeks, General Musharraf has not made exactly any friendly statements towards India. He has accused India of participating in the fomenting of separatist troubles in Baluchistan and NWFP.

The emerging troika is likely to face violent turbulence in Pakistan which it will find hard to control militarily. As it is General Musharraf is facing stiff armed resistance on its peripheries which looks to penetrate the hinterland. Military solution by the new establishment in Pakistan would generate further turbulence and armed attacks on the Pakistan Army.

It has been the historical record that whenever domestic turbulence in Pakistan threatens to get out of control, Pakistan military rulers tend to divert domestic attention to military adventurism against India.

In current circumstances, while an all out war is not a possibility, dangers exist of Pakistan embarking on a greater de-stabilization in Kashmir, stoking active insurgencies in the North-East and intensified terrorist activity in the Indian heartland through Pakistan funded sleeper cells. The terrorist attack yesterday at the much revered Muslim Sufi shrine at Ajmer is the latest example.

All in all, a worsening internal security situation within India and proxy war or the peripheries seems to be distinct possibility arising from the emergence of a new military dominated troika in Pakistan notwithstanding that it is an American creation.

Concluding Observations

The inherent contradiction in the combination, nature and attitudinal inclinations of the new Pakistan governing dispensation does not augur well for South Asian and regional stability.

The record of the Musharraf military regime in serving United States strategic interests has been dubious. Osama Bin Laden continues to be esconced in a Pakistani city (as remarked yesterday by former DG, ISI, Lt General Durraun), the Taliban continue to de-stabilize US interests in Afghanistan and China continues to enlarge its strategic hold over Pakistan.

The United States by adding Benazir Bhutto to the Pakistan Army duo of General Musharraf even without uniform and General Kiyani does not necessarily ensure its strategic interests by a predominantly military troika. This new troika is likely to generate added political turbulence and armed militancy in Pakistan to the detriment of the United States.

(The author is an International Relations and Strategic Affairs analyst. He is the Consultant, Strategic Affairs with South Asia Analysis Group. Email:drsubhashkapila@yahoo.com)

FALLUJA--2003/4-Like Situation in Pakistan's Pashtun Belt

Source: SAAG

By B. Raman

The situation in the Pashtun belt of the Federally-Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and the North-West Frontier Province (NWFP) of Pakistan has rapidly deteriorated after the commando raid into the Lal Masjid of Islamabad between July 10 and 13, 2007. The tribals, many of whose children, particularly girls, were killed during the raid, have hit back with ferocious vengeance at the Pakistan Army and para-military forces and the Police deployed in the Pashtun belt as well as outside. Al Qaeda and pro-Al Qaeda organisations such as the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan and the Islamic Jihad Group have taken advantage of the tribal anger to advance their own anti-US and anti-Israel agenda. One has been seeing a Falluja--2003-4 like situation developing in the tribal belt.

2. There are presently two parallel jihads in the tribal area. The first is a Taliban-like ideological jihad, which is directed against those sections of civil society, which are influenced by liberal ideas and life-style. As part of this jihad, there has been a systematic destruction of all cultural influences such as music records, videos of films, TV sets etc and attacks on the independence and powers of women.

3. The second is a jihad of reprisals directed against the security forces-----the Army, the para-military forces and the Police. The security forces have been facing increasing difficulty in coping with this jihad. The police, long neglected and humiliated by President General Pervez Musharraf, is in a state of paralysis. Large sections of the para-military forces and some sections of the Army are demoralised, resulting in increasing desertions and a jihad fatigue. There is very little flow of intelligence.

4. While Al Qaeda's propaganda and Psywar machine (As-Sahab) have been exploiting this anger, there is very little evidence of the involvement of Arabs of Al Qaeda in the jihadi strikes. Evidence till now points to the involvement of only Uzbeks, Tajiks, Chechen and Uighurs. What one has been seeing is not a Salafi virus spreading from the Arab world, but an extremist virus spreading from Central Asia and Afghanistan

5. Without making amends for the large number of tribal girls (about 300) from the FATA killed in the Lal Masjid raid, it is doubtful whether the Musharraf Government would be able to mitigate the anger.

6. The Pakistani media has been covering the situation in great detail and commenting on it. Relevant extracts are given below:

THE "DAWN" OF SEPTEMBER 27, 2007: "The Government is hopelessly dependent upon the dubious goodwill of the moderates among the tribal chiefs, its own military machine being unable to compel the militants to release the kidnapped. This being the harsh reality, one wonders what is the purpose behind deploying nearly 100,000 soldiers in what is increasingly turning into a wild goose chase.....Pakistan has lost 730 soldiers in the war on terror in the FATA, 229 since July 15 alone. Across the border, the US-led coalition forces have since July 15 suffered only 69 casualties. Have the security forces personnel in FATA developed battle fatigue? Or are they reluctant to fight and kill their own compatriots? One can understand a couple of soldiers being taken by surprise and kidnapped, but the very idea of such a large posse of well-trained and well-armed troops being kidnapped without a shot being fired defies logic. The deal the Government made with the militants last September (2006) failed to produce results. More ominously, the number of tribal maliks who could be called moderate, if not pro-Government, seems to be declining. This is also an indication of the collapse of FATA's traditional system in which the maliks commanded authority and acted in close liaison with the Government to tackle recalcitrant elements. Now the maliks' power seems to have given way to that of the Taliban, who have gone on the offensive with a vengeance after the Lal Masjid crackdown."

THE NATION OF SEPTEMBER 27:" The situation in Swat is precarious, specially since July. There have been four incidents of suicide bombings, all but one specifically targeting law enforcement agencies. As a result, there has been a significant reduction in the police patrolling of the district. Many police posts have been vacated. Many policemen have also deserted the force. The answer to this is definitely not getting the Army in. The police, an ill-equipped and ill-paid force, needs to be reformed and corrected. If they had a fraction of the resources the military and para-military forces had at their disposal, we would not be having a lot of our current law and order problems."

"THE DAILY TIMES" OF SEPTEMBER 27: "The North-West Frontier Province Government has finally called for Army deployment at 12 sensitive points in the Swat district. Swat and towns lying near it have come under attack from elements of Talibanisation since July, spearheaded by trade mark suicide bombings that have the police running scared and have, in one instance, targeted an army convoy. Since Swat was attacked by the FM (FM radio) Mullah Maulana Fazlullah on behalf of Al Qaeda in Waziristan, the Peshawar Government has been biting its nails instead of acting. Fazlullah is the son-in-law of the leader of Tehrik Nifaz Shariat Muhammadi (TNSM), who led thousands of Pashtun youths into Afghanistan in 2001 and is now in a Pakistani jail. The police has simply run away and the citizens of the Swat Valley have been asked to fend for themselves. The citizens have therefore accepted the rule of Fazlullah and one can expect them to go the way of the people of South Waziristan now being ruled by Al Qaeda proxies."

THE "DAWN" OF SEPTEMBER 27: "When the insurgents come under pressure, they strike targets outside their zone of operations as they did in Mardan, Hangu, Kohat, Dera Ismail Khan, Kharian, Quetta, Swat,Islamabad, Rawalpindi and Tarbela. In the process, they have also conveyed a message to the Government that they can strike anywhere at any time. After the SSG (Special Services Group) operation against Lal Masjid, they had warned of revenge. By striking at Tarbela (SSG headquarters), they have taken their revenge. As a result, military installations across the country have become more vulnerable and the sense of fear and uncertainty in the minds of their commanders more intense. The insurgents fighting the Army have close affinity with the Taliban. They not only enjoy the support of the local population, but also have the sympathy of the people outside their area. As a result, they have developed an effective intelligence network that enables them to stay a few steps ahead of the Army. They are battle-hardened and skilled in guerilla tactics and techniques. They know the local terrain well. They are highly motivated. The soldiers, on the other hand, do not know the terrain well. They lack the support of the local people---- which also makes it difficult for the military intelligence to operate freely in this area. It was lack of correct intelligence that led to the capture and killing of 18 SSG commandoes when they landed by helicopter on a hilltop in Waziristan for an operation. Above all, the level of motivation of the soldiers when fighting their own people is as low as it is high when fighting an external enemy. It was this factor, more than any other, which led the 300 armed soldiers to give themselves up to a small band of insurgents and it continues to manifest itself in the abductions of armed personnel of the security forces almost on a daily basis. The heavy casualties, the surrender of 300 soldiers, the daily abductions, the attack in Tarbela, the killing of heli-landed commandoes and the sting of defeats suffered by the security forces have clearly had a demoralising effect on them. The effect has been exacerbated by the fear that by fighting their own people, they will not become shaheed (martyrs) and, if they die, they would have died in vain like those who lost their lives in Kargil (in 1999). After the Army crackdown in East Pakistan in March 1971, the Bengali soldiers of the Army had deserted and joined the Mukti Bahini resistance force. In the tribal areas, a number of desertions by para-military forces are reported to have taken place. One hopes and prays that Pathan soldiers, who constitute nearly 30 per cent of the Army's rank and file, remain unaffected."

THE "DAWN" OF SEPTEMBER 29: "Highly disturbing is the absence of an institutional response from either Gen. Musharraf or his surrogates in Government to the series of abductions of the military's soldiers and para-military forces, which should have sent red alert signals to all policy-makers. The army abductions are non-discriminatory in nature. They are not restricted to junior level officers. The 19 Frontier Corps militiamen abducted from South Waziristan in August this year included a senior officer and a political tehsildar. The 280 soldiers abducted later included a Colonel and nine other officers. On September 1, another 10 FC para-military soldiers and a Major were kidnapped in FATA's Mohmand agency. These are clear proof of the growing confidence of the militants, who now use abduction as an effective way of pressing the regime to submit to their demands. The attacks now carry a clear political as well as violent message. The fearlessness of the militants stems from the success of the abduction of the FC militiamen in the second week of August. During the time they held down the soldiers, the militants released a video titled "Revenge", exposing the brutal beheading of one of the abducted soldiers at the hands of a teenaged boy. The video ran a commentary that ended in questions relating to the legitimacy of the Jamia Hafsa (girls madrasa inside the Lal Masjid) operation, the detention of A. Q. Khan, the Balochistan operation and the forced disappearances of civilians. The attacks now focus increasingly on breaking down the confidence and resolve of the enemy. If the purpose of the video was to shock the audience, it did the job. It took a small group of Taliban fighters to force the surrender of 280 armed soldiers by merely blocking their convoy. As the twin attacks in Rawalpindi and later Tarbela show, high security zones no longer deter suicide attackers."

THE "NATION" OF OCTOBER 2: "The situation in Waziristan deteriorated when the militants holed up in the Lal Masjid in Islamabad openly challenged the writ of the State. Massive deployments of troops in FATA, especially in North and South Waziristan, has failed to curtail terrorism emanating from there. FC posts and road troops convoys have become easy targets for the terrorists. Large number of troops have been killed and kidnapped. The Government must come up with a new strategy and policy."

THE "JANG" OF OCTOBER 3: "A new country has emerged between Pakistan and Afghanistan. This has not come up so far officially, but practically it exists there as there is no writ of the Governments in this area and those, who claim to be the legitimate heirs of this territory, are handling the law and order there..... A new map, which is emerging in areas of Pakistan and Afghanistan, covers FATA (the Federally-Administered Tribal Areas), Deer, Bajaur, Malakand, Khyber, Mehmand, Chitral and the southern provinces of Afghanistan. In these areas no border exists as the people there do not accept any man-made border there."

(The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. E-mail:seventyone2@gmail.com)