The Battle of Plassey, 23 June 1757, was a decisive British East India Company victory over the Nawab of Bengal and his French allies, establishing Company rule in South Asia which expanded over much of the Indies for the next hundred years. The battle took place at Palashi, Bengal, on the river banks of the Bhagirathi River, about 150 km north of Calcutta, near Murshidabad, then capital of undivided Bengal. The belligerents were Siraj-ud-daulah, the last independent Nawab of Bengal, and the British East India Company.
The battle was preceded by the attack and plunder of Calcutta by Siraj-ud-daulah and the Black Hole tragedy. The British sent reinforcements under Colonel Robert Clive and Admiral Charles Watson from Madras to Bengal and recaptured Calcutta. Clive then seized the initiative to capture the French fort of Chandernagar. Tensions and suspicions between Siraj-ud-daulah and the British culminated in the Battle of Plassey. The battle was waged during the Seven Years' War (1756–1763) and in a mirror of their European rivalry, the French East India Company sent a small contingent to fight against the British. Siraj-ud-Daulah had a numerically superior force and made his stand at Plassey. The British, worried about being outnumbered, formed a conspiracy with Siraj-ud-Daulah's demoted army chief Mir Jafar, along with others such as Yar Lutuf Khan, Jagat Seths (Mahtab Chand and Swarup Chand), Omichund and Rai Durlabh. Mir Jafar, Rai Durlabh and Yar Lutuf Khan thus assembled their troops near the battlefield but made no move to actually join the battle. Siraj-ud-Daulah's army was defeated by roughly 3,000 soldiers of Col. Robert Clive, owing to the inactivity and treachery of the conspirators.
This is judged to be one of the pivotal battles in the control of South Asia by the colonial powers. The British now wielded enormous influence over the Nawab and consequently acquired large amounts of concession for previous losses and revenue from trade. The British further used this revenue to increase their military might and push the other European colonial powers such as the Dutch and the French out of South Asia, thus expanding the British Empire in Asia.
Alivardi Khan ascended to the throne of the Nawab of Bengal after his army attacked and captured the capital of Bengal, Murshidabad. Alivardi’s attitude to the Europeans in Bengal is said to be strict. During his wars with the Marathas, he allowed the strengthening of fortifications by the Europeans and the construction of the Maratha Ditch in Calcutta by the British. On the other hand, he collected large amounts of money from them for the upkeep of his war. He was well-informed of the situation in southern India, where the British and the French had started a proxy war using the local princes and rulers. Alivardi did not wish such a situation to transpire in his province and thus exercised caution in his dealings with the Europeans. However, there was continual friction; the British always complained that they were prevented from the full enjoyment of the farman of 1717 issued by Farrukhsiyar. The British, however, protected subjects of the Nawab, gave passes to native traders to trade custom-free and levied large duties on goods coming to their districts – actions which were detrimental to the Nawab’s revenue.
Mir Muhammed Jafar Ali Khan is also known by Indians as Gaddar-e-Abrar (which translates in English as 'The Traitor of Faith'). He succeeded Siraj-Ud-Daulah as the eighth Nawab of Bengal, and the first of the Najafi dynasty after deceiving Nawab Siraj-Ud-Daulah and surrendering his army in battle field against Robert Clive. His rule is widely considered the start of British rule in India and was a key step in eventual British domination of the country. His greed of becoming Nawab of Bengal, led him to make a secret pact with Robert Clive and surrender & slaughter of Army of Bengal in Battle of Plassey, without fighting, which led to foundation of British rule in India. For this act of treachery, he has been infamously called Gaddar-e-Abrar. Gaddar means a traitor & Abrar means faith in Urdu. He is sometimes known in some places around India as the "Faith Traitor".
Mir Jafar came to Bengal as a penniless barbarian. He was a son of Arab immigrants from the region known as Najaf in modern day Iraq. He took up a job in Nawab's army and slowly promoted himself to higher class sweeper. Although he had good reputation in the history books but in fact, he was traitor who deceived his own country men for the sake of money and empire of Bengal. Because of him English army took over the well build Muslim Empire in Masoor which was a welfare state.
Mir Jafar's initial military career was not without glory. His opportunity came when he rescued Ali Vardi Khan's nephew, the hapless Sauqat Jung, from the clutches of Mirza Baqir at Cuttack. He parlayed this success into a prominent role in Ali Vardi Khan's many military campaigns, specially against the grandson of the earlier nawab Murshid Quli Khan, and the Marathas. Nawab Ali Vardi Khan then gave him the hand of his half-sister (Shah Khanam) and seven thousand horses to command.
However, Mir Jafar had higher ambitions. Arrogant in his position he took advantage of an Ali Vardi Khan weakened by a decade of fighting with Marathas to enter into a conspiracy with Ataullah (the faujdar of Rajmahal) to overthrow and murder the Nawab. However, the conspiracy was unearthed and he was stripped of most of his powers. He returned to Murshidabad, where he regained the trust of the Nawab's grandson, Siraj-Ud-Daulah, and slowly returned to power and prominence.
Soon after Ali Vardi Khan's natural death, Siraj Ud Daulah became the Nawab of Bengal at Murshidabad. On ascending the throne, he made the controversial decision of elevating a Kayastha named Mohanlal as his supreme Diwan. This elevation of a Hindu to such a prominent position caused the established nobility, and in particular Mir Jafar, great offense. He was then the bakshi or head of the armed forces, second only to the Nawab, and the elevation of Mohanlal to a post above him was taken almost as a personal insult. He became determined to overthrow Siraj-Ud-Daulah and gain the Nawabi for himself.
His opportunity came when Siraj-Ud-Daulah was distracted in his campaign against the British. This was the time when the British contacted him (along with others in the Nawab's court) and offered him the throne if he betrayed Siraj-Ud-Daulah. However, Siraj-Ud-Daulah returned victorious from Kolkata and discovered the conspiracy; he demoted Mir Jafar and appointed Mir Madan, who was loyal to the Nawab, the new bakshi. Ghulam Husain says "Sirāju-d-daulah placing large batteries in front of Mīr Jafar’s palace was ready to blow him up, and ordered him to quit the City." There is some question here as to why Mir Jafar was not more severely reprimanded, but its probable that Siraj-Ud-Daulah was wary of going too far given Mir Jafar's influence in his court at that time.
Mir Jafar was left smarting under this new insult while Siraj-Ud-Daulah was busy with his campaign against the British.Influenced nobles and other officials who joined hands were Mir bakshi,Manickchand and khadim khan On 1 May 1757, the British Calcutta Council made a secret treaty with Mir Jafar, promising to place him on the throne of Bengal. William Watts, the chief of the British factory at Cossimbazar conducted the conspiracy with remarkable diplomatic skill and secrecy. On 5 June 1757, he personally visited Mir Jafar and obtained his oath of allegiance.
Siraj-Ud-Daulah then attempted to win back the support of Mir Jafar, and apparently thought he had successfully obtained the backing of the considerable military force still under Jafar's command (though no longer Bakshi, Mir Jafar retained a substantial number of foot soldiers and cavalry). Mir Jafar, it is recorded, was not particularly impressed by the promises of Siraj-Ud-Daulah but with some duplicity agreed to support him while continuing to encourage the British in their advances. Siraj-Ud-Daulah finally met the British forces at Plassey for the definitive stand. On the day of the Battle of Plassey, Siraj-Ud-Daulah had the advantage of overwhelming force, but at the critical time Mir Jafar's men stood watching passively rather than engage the enemy. This wiped out much of the numerical superiority that Siraj-Ud-Daulah enjoyed, and the soldiers of Siraj-Ud-Daula were decimated by the smaller but much better armed and trained British forces. Siraj-Ud-Daulah fled but was eventually captured and executed.
After Siraj Ud Daulah’s defeat and subsequent execution, Mir Jafar achieved his long-pursued dream of gaining the throne, and was propped up by the British as puppet Nawab.Mir Jafar paid a sum of Rs.17,700,000 as compensation for the attack on Calcutta to the company and the traders of the city. In addition, he paid large sums as gifts or bribes to the officials of the company. Clive, for example received over two million rupees, Watts over one million. Soon, however, he realised that British expectations were boundless and tried to wriggle out from under them; this time with the help of the Dutch. However, the British defeated the Dutch at the Battle of Chinsurah in November 1759 and retaliated by forcing him to abdicate in favor of his son-in-law Mir Qasim. However, Mir Qasim proved to be both able and independent, willing to live with but not bow to the British. The Company soon went to war with him, and he was eventually overthrown. Mir Jafar managed to regain the good graces of the British; he was again appointed Nawab in 1763 and held the position until his death in 1765.
Mir Jafar probably was the last ruler of Bengal. After him the British ruled Bengal for next 200 years. Mir Jafar is widely reviled by the people of Bangladesh, India and Pakistan. The word "mirjafar" in Bengali and the phrase "meer jafar" in Urdu, are used much as quisling is used in English. Nevertheless, after 200 years, when the British left the region, and upon the formation of Pakistan, Mir Jafar's direct descendent Iskandar Mirza, was appointed as the first president of Pakistan
There are some elements in the State Department and Afghan minorities who insist that America may be engaged in a war against Pashtun nationalism rather than a religious movement espousing religious fundamentalism. As with all things South Asian, its not that simple but a warlord must understand the true self-interest of his enemy to bring peace and stability to a turbulent region.
It’s convenient for Westerners to view a conflict along lines drawn in their atlases. We rarely reshape countries’ borders but have no problem reshaping the power structures within those geographic lines. Kosova, Kurdistan, Israel and perhaps even America’s own Indian reservations are benefactors of America’s blind spot to unfair treaties, occupations and racist endeavors. Although Afghanistan has existed as a nation since the 1700′s, Pakistan’s uneasy alliance of ethnicities emerged only six decades ago. If one looks closely the simmering insurgencies in Baluchistan, Kashmir and the tribal areas along the Afghan border the more pessimistic might be tempted to hold off on granting Pakistan full nation status. Or more productively full partnership status in America’s war against terrorist groups.
America is fighting a war in Afghanistan that after eight years now finally includes killing enemies inside Pakistan. The world doesn’t seem to mind the targeted assassination campaign against our enemies and Pakistan bleats only when the civilian ratio to target creeps up. Legally the DoD can only operate in Afghanistan, leaving the CIA to conduct kinetic and intelligence activities in alliance with the Pakistani military and ISI. Quiet operations based in Bagram direct much of the Predator and covert operations, but officially America has no military presence in Pakistan. This is untrue, America has robust proxy, trainers, supporters and equipment inside Pakistan and is working directly with the Pakistanis to kill insurgent and terrorist targets. Targets that are simultaneously condoned and supported by Pakistan in their efforts against the United States in Afghanistan.
America’s enemy plays no such games, they freely use Pakistan as both operational funding, training and recruiting. Al Qaeda, Haqqanis, Hekmatyar’s Hizbi Islami, the Talban and the Tehrik Taliban are not shy about their overt presence and affiliation with the Islamic nation of Pakistan. Pakistan walks the razor edge by promoting and punishing these groups as it sees its national interests promoted or damaged. These groups will be long after we have turned to other wars and regions…and Pakistan knows it.
Pakistan is the second largest Islamic nation, a militant supporter of Islamic groups and a divisive impoverished nation wracked by violence since its birth in 1947. Pakistan was born from violence and continues to be a militant defender of Islam and proxy player using terrorist tactics.
Pakistan is comprised of many ethnic groups primarily Punjabi (44%) with Pashtuns (15%), Sindhis (14) and Seraikis (11%) forming the bulk of their population. These figures no not accurately portray the influence of Afghan Pashtun refugees or the territorial areas controlled by these ethnic groups. Kashmiris, Baluch and Afghans have far more influence on Pakistani foreign policy than their numbers would belie. The Baluch control a disproportionate amount of territory and the Pashtuns could lay claim to half of Pakistan’s land. If these two tribes were to unite with their brothers in Afghanistan along historical ethnic lines, Pakistan would become a tiny sliver of Punjabis, Seraikis and Sindhi’s. It is for that reason that Pakistan takes such great interest in the affairs of the Pashtun and the Sind. There has been a history of bellicose support of these groups and typically among the most orthodox Islamic leaders of these groups.
Those who have more than a cursory view of the conflict also understand that the war is not contained within the imaginary lines drawn on maps. It is educational to understand that ISAF offices rarely contained a map other than Afghanistan until the last few months. The term “AfPak” has just come into fashion in the last year but it artificially welds these two nations together to the detriment of a massive singular nation that straddles both countries.
The reality is that there is no “AfPak.” It’s a convenient extension of American interest that ignores the regional influence of Iran, Central Asia, India and the Gulf regions in the Afghan conflict and more disturbingly ignores the engine that maintains instability in the region.
At its simplest, the war in Afghanistan is driven by Pashtunistan and specifically the line that divides Pashtuns into two countries. Pashtuns are a race who consider themselves unique and united through history, shared experience, tribal structure and marriage. They consider themselves the original Afghans and their view of their domain is both territorial and nomadic. This creates a greater bond between races of both countries and confounds foreigners who work diligently to prevent this ease of movement. It is not unusual for Britain, America and Russia to respect or uphold borders in their international game of chess and checkmate, but it is that arrogance that has led to their defeat each time. Unable to deal with the transnational nature of the enemy they insist on centralizing, westernizing and replicating European concepts in this ancient part of the world.
The November 12, 1893 Durand Line Agreement was created to arbitrarily mark off areas of influence and sprung by the then obsessive need of the British to map and divide regions. Constant movement between warmer lowlands of Pakistan and the need for trade along with a very fixed view of land control typified in the large fortified compounds favored by Pashtuns are hallmarks of the race. How can a race be xenophobic and nomadic at the same time? It is more common to find villagers who work in Iran, Dubai and Pakistan inside Afghanistan than it is to find a rural American who has traveled to these regions. Protection of their culture through marriage to cousins, the extended family and the tribal structure are also ways to preserve their cultural and keep families strong. Alignment to power brokers, the ability to quickly raise lashgars or small, loosely aligned fighting groups and the ability to make, split or break allegiances is also a hallmark of the “wiley pathan.” This is something Americans understood during the Revolutionary War, but have seem to forgotten when fighting in Afghanistan. The tribal areas are analagus to the U.S. – Canadian border pre World War Two where border control was a casual formality and people could cross freely. Canadians and Americans linked through common immigration also quickly banded together to fight threats in major wars even up to Afghanistan.
At its simplest the Durand Line was created to demarcate the limits of the then warring Afghans under Abdur Rahman Khan and the British Empire in India. The Agreement effectively faced the Pashtun nation towards Pakistan since previous rulers had actually favored Persia as their cultural partners. Dari was introduced by the Durranis as the educated language replacing Pashto as the official language of the country.
The real reason was that the Afghan ruler knew that the Russians were moving southward towards his north border and the British had shown they had every reason to expand their Indian empire westward. The Durand Line conceded massive swaths of Pashtun homeland and remains as a Western inspired boundary, but it was actually an Afghan (who was a Barakzai pashtun) solution. The tribes were given unusual freedom of movement across the border and with in the tribal areas in Pakistan effectively aligning the Pashtun tribes in Pakistan with Afghanistan rather than towards the Punjabi areas of Pakistan. The Durand Line also ended the development and structures that the British normally delivered to their colonies. A legacy of isolation and tribal infighting that exists to this day.
After World War Two, the partition of India to create Pakistan put additional focus on this oft ignored boundary and pushed the Pushtunistan issue into the forefront. During the 50′s and 60′s the concept of Pashtunistan became a vigorous debate. The surkh post or Red Shirt movement was formalized as the Awami Party and was only hindered by the inability of the Pashtun tribes in reaching a concensus. The poorest and most brutally divided tribes in Waziristan were a flash point for this movement ( just as the modern Tehrik i Taliban is today) and the Pakistani government responded with eerily similar vigor in crushing this movement. Along with “Azad Pashtunistan” or “Free Pashtunistan,” Baluchistan and Kashmir are similar movements to unite ethnically pure regions away from the splits created by former colonial masters. They are also ignition points for outside interlopers who seek to support underpowered race inspired movements. Russia exploited the Pashtun demand for a homeland positioning Pakistan as a violator of Pashtun’s rights. America, through the ISI, funded primarily Pashtun fundamentalists to fight the Russians and Pakistan again supported the Pashtun Taliban in the mid 90′s. Although the U.S. found little to no support from Pashtuns against the Taliban, they promoted Hamid Karzai to his current position. Pashtuns are only around half of Afghanistan’s population and there is no unwritten rule that a Pashtun must rule just as there is no law that a middle-aged white man must rule America.
Afghanistan, even up to President Karzai, has supported the concept of Pashtunistan obliquely by denigrating the Durand Line and the separation of tribes aka families. One of the safety valves has been the Pashtun focus of Russia and the United States which has always insisted that a Pashtun be a ruler of the country and specific tribes be involved in resolving conflicts. President Karzai is a living example of un-entitled leaders artificially promoted by outside forces into an elected official.
More importantly, the Durand Line has been used by the United States and Pakistan to their advantage. During the Soviet times, Pakistan based refugees found safe harbor in Pakistan while fighting the Russians. The millions of refugees that flooded across the border found relief from the war and continue to be a well of recruits for the current jihadi groups.
Pakistan has used the Durand Line to both justify its territory and also debate its territory in Kashmir. Their manipulation of the Pashtuns’ hostility along the border was always the “poison pill” that would prevent India from launching a serious war in the region. America finds itself fighting the Pashtun Taliban which began in Pakistan and the Pakistanis find themselves fighting the Pakistani Taliban along the same border. Afghan minorities found themselves fighting Pashtun Taliban and modern Afghanistan still finds itself divided along Pashtun and non-Pashtun political groups.
When the Taliban were in power they did not officially seek a Pashtun state but intuitively viewed the tribes and camps as their supporters. Their banner of jihad under a tribal form of sharia carried with an implicit understanding that this was a retrograde (Sunni whahabist) Pashtun, tribal movement and was rooted in the diaspora experience of Afghan refugees in Pakistan, Soviet occupation and Pakistani prejudice to the Afghan refugees. In a word “Sunni Pashtun homeland” was never printed on the white Taliban flag but established an implicit understanding and resonance. The Taliban continue to use the distorted lens of madrassah training, foreign occupation and orthodox Sunni interpretation of their tribal system that automatically filters out other groups in Afghanistan and Pakistan. When the Taliban ventured into Kabul and then the north, the true brutal nature of conquest and domination began to appear. In other words, the Taliban movement resonates in Pashtunistan and Pashtun pockets but only if controlled by Pakistan and only if the Taliban do not formally confess the underpinnings of their movement.
What does this mean to the warlords of Afghanistan? It means that General McChrystal must understand this dynamic when “defeating the Taliban” since he is also defeating the dream of a Pashtun homeland in the eyes of many Pashtuns. He must also see that the ethnic warlords from the Hazara, Tajik, Uzbek and other minorities see the Taliban movement for what it is and have the thousands of dead compatriots in mass graves to prove it. Pakistan’s covert support of the Pashtuns has backfired creating a flare up in tribal areas that it now must defeat or risk losing both Pashtunistan and Balochistan. The recent degradation of the Taliban in Karachi, with the CIA and DoD’s help, is a direct attempt to find a safety valve to hinder the Pashtun group spreading from infection to epidemic inside their own country.
Underlying all these conflicts is a sense of racial not national unity. There is no liberation, no rights, no grievances to right but these groups are being used to leverage control by agitators. Any attempts to “negotiate” with the Taliban should be viewed no differently as supporting racially pure movements that have spawned even more conflict when they were given special treatment or territory.
INDIAN AMERICAN INTELLECTUALS FORUM
41-67 Judge Street, Suite 5P
Elmhurst, New York 11373
(718) 478-5735/(718) 271-0453
MEMORANDUM TO U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
2201 C Street, NW
Washington, D.C. 20520
Attn: Mr. Donn Titus
Sub: (1) Declare Pakistan a Terrorist State
(2) Seize Pakistan ’s Nuclear Facilities immediately
(3) Break up Pakistan into four Independent States
Dear Mr. Titus:
On behalf of Indian American Intellectuals Forum (IAIF), I am very happy to present this Memorandum to you. IAIF is an advocacy group organized and established under the laws of the State of New York since 1999. Our objectives are to strengthen the Indo-American relations and create awareness among our citizens about the menace of terrorism.
In this connection, we would like to state that in 1999, we were given an opportunity by the State Department to meet their staff and present our viewpoint about what action should be taken against Pakistan to save the globe from the curse of terrorism. In the past eleven years since then, the world situation has not just gone from bad to worse but it has actually assumed alarmingly dangerous proportions.
In that period of time, Pakistan has literally become a hub of Islamic fundamentalists. There are more than one million Taliban studying in Pakistani Madrasas (Islamic religious schools). Pakistani society by now has been completely radicalized. Pakistan has become not only a nuclear power but also a nuclear proliferating country. Since no serious attention was paid to our similar plea in 1999 regarding declaring Pakistan a terrorist state then, the world had to pay a very heavy price for creating this Frankenstein.
Pakistan is using terrorism as a tool for its foreign policy to accomplish its political objectives. Notorious terrorists – Syed Salahuddin, the head of United Jihad Council, Hafiz Abdur Rahman Makki, the leader of terror amalgam Jamaat-ul-Dawah and brother-in-law of Lashkar-e-Taiba founder Hafiz Saeed; Dowd Ibrahim, chief of the dreaded Company D; Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Masood Azhar; LeT terrorists Azam Cheema, chief Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami, Qari Saifullah Akhtar, Ilyas Kashmiri – and other terror groups are working at the beck and call of Pakistan. All the above individuals and groups are notorious for ruthlessly murdering innocent people in the name of Allah. The dastardly beheading of two Sikhs in Pakistan by Taliban is the latest instance of that policy.
Most terror training camps in Pakistan are running under the nose of and in close collaboration with Pakistan ’s spy agency ISI. Pakistan authorities have turned a blind eye to the 6.5 acre terror training base, in the south of Punjab province. Here, the outlawed terror group Jaishe-e-Mohammad, linked with 2001 attack on the Indian Parliament and then beheading of US journalist Daniel Pearl, is setting up a large new base just outside the Bahawalpur town in Pakistan 's Punjab province with anti-India inscriptions on its walls, The Sunday Telegraph had reported.
It is alleged that massacre of seven CIA agents at a Forward Operating Base in Afghanistan was masterminded by Ilyas Kashmiri, a Pakistani commando-turned-jihadist. Again, this is the same Ilyas Kashmiri, the Commander of another terror outfit HuJi, who has issued a global warning to the Cricket players against visiting and playing in India .
Lashkar-e-Taiba al-Alami, an unknown terrorist group which has claimed responsibility for the Pune blasts near Mumbai (in India ) in which 17 people were killed is following an al-Qaida agenda of targeting the US and its allies, such as Israel and India .
It is reported that David Coleman Headley (Daood Gilani) and Mohammad Amjad Khwaja who were arrested by the FBI in Chicago in October last year have told their American interrogators that ISI in collaboration with HuJi and Lashkar-e-Toiba has put together a team of Indian Jihadists in Karachi for sending them back into India on another terror project.
In an interview to Indian Express dated Feb. 5, 2010, Pulitzer Prize-winner Steve Coll who is the author of two defining books: Ghost Wars and The Bin Ladens,said that “ India ’s security problems are graver than America ’s in relation to the Jihadi terrorism.”
Ironically, the US has given Pakistan $15 billion dollars to fight the Al Qaida in Pakistan . In the meantime, Pakistan has only been dilly dallying and fooling us; many Taliban groups actually provide shelter to Al Qaida. US Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair has said that “ Islamabad ’s conviction that militant groups are an important part of its strategic arsenal to counter India ’s military and economic advantages will continue to limit Pakistan ’s incentive to pursue an across-the-board effort against extremism.”
One biggest difficulty we face is our ignorance of the tenets of Koran, Hadith and Sira. As such we formulate our policies on assumption that there are two sets of Muslims: moderates and radicals. In reality, contrary to the popular perception, every mainstream Islamic school teaches the necessity to subjugate unbelievers, by force or by any means and bring them under the hegemony of Islamic law.
Last Month, US Vice President Joe Biden said in Washington that his greatest concern was not Afghanistan nor threat of Iran turning nuclear. His biggest worry was Pakistan , which he said had a significant radicalized population and only a “functional democracy.” Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has also stated that Iran was not as great a threat to the global security as other nuclear-proliferating countries such as North Korea and Pakistan .
Expressing concern over the increasing Taliban threat in Pakistan , Israel ’s Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said Israel considers Pakistan as its biggest strategic threat than Iran . U.S. intelligence officials also believe that the homicide bomb attack that killed seven CIA officers in Afghanistan last month was planned with the help of Osama bin Laden's close allies. It is well to remember that Al Qaida jihadists are fully protected by Taliban who in turn are hands in glove with Pakistan .
Intelligence inputs received by Indian officials indicate that Pakistan-based terror outfit Lashkar-e-Toiba has acquired as many as 50 para-gliding equipments from China for the potential use to launch suicide attacks in India . This, obviously, could not be accomplished without Pakistan ’s active connivance, complicity and tactical support.
Amid political turbulence in Pakistan , and heightened fears about the Taliban and other extremist groups seizing the country’s nuclear assets, there has been a rapid expansion of Islamabad ’s nuclear armaments. US Joint Chief of Staff Chairman Admiral Mike Mullen, in a confidential briefing, told members of Congress that some reports have confirmed that Islamabad is rapidly adding to its nuclear arsenal. President of the Institute for Science and International Security, David Albright has said that Pakistan was scaling up its centrifuge facilities. This could destabilize the entire South Asia .
Even though it is clearly acknowledged that Pakistan has become an epicenter of terrorism, the US Congress is still considering proposals to spend 3 billion dollars over the next five years to train and equip Pakistan ’s military for counter-insurgency warfare. This is in addition to 7.5 billion dollars that the Capitol Hill has already promised in civilian assistance.
We should also take a serious note of Pakistan’s disgraced scientist A.Q. Khan’s statement that Pakistan helped Iran acquire the nuclear technology with an objective to jointly emerge as a “strong block” in the region so that they can effectively counter the international pressure and ‘neutralize’ Israel’s power. Imagine the situation when the Islamic Pakistan and Islamic Iran will jointly challenge and blackmail the civilized world.
It is also a well known fact that Dawood Ibrahim’s D Company is a “5,000-member criminal syndicate operating mostly in Pakistan , India , and the United Arab Emirate.” This company has a “strategic alliance” with Pakistan ’s ISI and has “forged relationships with Islamists, including Lashkar-e-Taiba and al-Qaida.”
Some press accounts further report that Ibrahim’s underworld network may have provided a boat to the 10 terrorists who killed 178 people in Mumbai (India) on 26/11 and record that the “US government contends that D-Company has found common cause with Al Qaida and shares its smuggling routes with that terrorist group.”
The US Department of Treasury has already designated Ibrahim as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) in 2006 and President Bush designated him as a Significant Foreign Narcotics Trafficker under the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act. It is a matter of disgust and shame that Pakistan shelters Dawood Ibrahim but denies his presence in the country in order to prevent his prosecution or extradition to India or US.
According to India 's National Security Advisor, there are over 800 terror cells operating in India with "external support." Nuclear physicist and author Dr. Moorthy Muthuswamy has elucidated in his new book how passionately this jihadist infrastructure was developed in a span of over twenty years, aided by funding from the Middle East . The desire to conquer India violently for Islam is an aspiration of many nations and is seen in many a Muslim quarter as a must for creating an Islamic caliphate.
Instead of penalizing Pakistan for its support to the notorious terrorists and spreading global terrorism, US, unfortunately, is rewarding this country with the deadly weapons and billions of dollars of hard cash. We believe it is inappropriate for US to prop up Pakistan and balance its strategic partnership with India by selling deadly F-16 to Pakistan Air Force (the total number of F-16 in 2010 will be 54 as per Institute for Defense Studies and Analyses) together with other advanced weapons and avionics for air-to-air combat that appear to us unnecessary for counter-insurgency operations in mountainous area against Taliban. This is being done in spite of the admission by General Musharraf’s that Pakistan is modifying the arms, which are meant to fight the terrorists, for use against India.
Let us understand and recognize that Pakistan is a failed state. Its economy is in shambles. Fissiparous forces are pulling the country in different directions to tear it apart. Nationalist movements in Balochistan, Sind and Baltistan are gaining momentum. In Karachi , Sunni and Shi’a, Mohajirs and Sindhis, Pathans and Mohajirs are flying at each other’s throat. Murder and mayhem is the order of the day all around. Thousands of young Sindhi Muslims are joining Jiye Sind movement. Balochisthan Liberation Army is working strenuously to gain freedom from the Punjabi domination. Minority Balti Shi’a in Baltistan feel suffocated and subjugated under Punjabi army in Pakistan . In nutshell, there is turmoil all over Pakistan .
We should recognize in unambiguous terms that Pakistan is the root cause of terror and instability in that region. In order to win the war in Afghanistan it is essential that American war strategy should be focused on Pakistan . In the next 18 months, American troops will be leaving Af-Pak region. Hence, it is incumbent on us to divide Pakistan into four states before Pakistani army and Islamic fundamentalists take over Afghanistan again.
In view of the above, we believe, it is absolutely necessary that US devise appropriate measures to: (a) Declare Pakistan a terrorist state, (bi) Seize Pakistan ’s nuclear facilities immediately, and (c) Break up Pakistan into four Independent States to weaken its terror-producing capacity.
Very truly yours,
Gul A. Agha
The 20th century was a time of the collapse of colonialism -- perhaps no event marked the collapse more than the end of British rule in the Indian subcontinent in 1947. A large number of new states were created in this period and the concept of international law was conceived. International law represented a compromise between powerful countries and their interests, and the fears of newly decolonized countries. Unfortunately, the idea of protecting existing boundaries between states -- viewed as the principal means to maintain peace -- took primacy over individual human rights as well as the cultural and historic rights of different nations. Since the end of the cold war, fortunately the idea of using international law to promote human rights has been gaining strength.
The borders of many new states were drawn arbitrarily -- ignoring the history, language and culture of the peoples affected. Pakistan is one such state -- created by a colonial power, it is a state devoid of any historical or cultural basis. The current premise of policy makers in many countries is predicated on the notion that the continued existence of Pakistan can contribute to regional stability and promote global security. It is a premise that needs to be carefully examined.
History of Pakistan
In the 1930s, the Indian movement for independence had gained considerable momentum. As a means of postponing their day of departure, British colonialists promoted a Muslim leadership which encouraged religious divisions in the subcontinent. Later the British found it expedient -- and apparently beneficial to their geostrategic interests -- to create an oddly shaped Muslim majority state, separated into two "wings" more than a thousand miles apart.
Pakistan had problems since its inception. One small ethnic group of migrants, Urdu speakers from Northern India who call themselves 'Mohajirs', initially dominated its bureaucracy and government. Another ethnic group, Punjabi speakers representing about 20% of the population, dominated its Military, while a third, Bengali speakers, constituted its majority. Power resided in the first two ethnic groups and their control of the state led to a rebellion among the majority Bengali speakers. After a quarter century of strife and ruthless attempts to suppress the Bengali majority, including a genocide, Bangladesh was created. Thus Pakistan was partitioned into two separate states, one of which retained the name.
Pakistan's Ethnic Groups
The truncated borders of Pakistan consist of four major ethnic groups -- Punjabis, Sindhis, Pushtuns, and Baluchis -- and several other ethnic groups, Mohajirs in southern cities of Karachi and Hyderabad, Kashmiris in the North, and Seraiki speaking groups in the middle.
Pakistan borders four countries, Afghanistan, Iran, China and India. The border with each of these countries is problematic. The border with Afghanistan is based on the so-called Durand Line -- arbitrarily demarcated by the British in the 19th century. Pushtuns, who were historically united, live on both sides of this mountainous border. The border with Iran is mostly populated by Baluch tribes who live in a large sparsely populated desert on both sides of the border. The Baluchis in Pakistan demanded autonomy in the 1970s and thousands were massacred by the Pakistan military.
The border with India runs through three distinct regions. To the north is the former kingdom of Jammu and Kashmir, a focus of much contention and dispute. The division of Kashmiris between India and Pakistan is against their will. The Pakistani-occupied part of Kashmir borders not only India, but also the Chinese occupied region of Uighurs. On the Pakistani side of the Kashmir border, there are also several other ethnic groups besides the Kashmiris, such as the Gilgitis and Baltistanis.
In the middle of Pakistan are Punjabis, who now represent about 40% of the population, and constitute 90% of the military. Punjab was partitioned on the basis of religion, and Punjabis seem quite satisfied with this division. It is an area which saw many massacres on the basis of creed -- and the bloodletting resulted in 'ethnic' cleansing on both sides of the border. South of the Punjabis live Seraiki speaking people, some of whom bear greater affinity to Sindhis.
The southern border with India runs through Sindh. The majority of Sindh's over 30 million people live in the valley carved by the once mighty Indus river. Sindh's western region is part of the Great Indian Desert of Thar, through which a border was drawn more or less arbitrarily. Sindh's southern boundary is marked by the Indian Ocean and Kutch, a region that has close linguistic and cultural affinity to Sindh, but is now a part of India.
The Aspirations of the Sindhis
Sindhis are predominantly sufis who believe in harmony and tolerance in the matter of religion. Before the partition of India, the majority of Sindhis consistently voted against candidates supporting Pakistan. Although the British colonialists used their considerable power and influence to support the pro-Pakistan candidates in 1946, such candidates succeeded in obtaining only about 40% of the popular vote.
By gerrymandering the electorate, the colonialists managed the election of a majority in the Sindh Assembly which favored joining Pakistan. The Sindhi vote for Pakistan was also facilitated by the now famous 'Lahore Resolution' passed by the Muslim League -- this resolution promised "autonomy and sovereignty of constituent units" and "protection of religious minorities". Sindhis have strongly resented Pakistan, whose policies since inception have been the very anti-thesis of both these principles.
The Current Situation
Pakistan today is held together by a powerful military which directly consumes 70% of the its budget after debt payments. The military has gained strength by opportunistically aligning itself with the United States, China and Saudi Arabia. It has directly ruled the country for most of its history and has cultivated relations with the fundamentalist Islamist clergy to strengthen its hold on power. In fact, the military is a bastion of Islamists who are influenced by fundamentalist movements such as Wahabism and Deobandism -- the same movements which hold sway among large numbers of Pakistani Punjabis.
In fact, the Pakistan military is a key source of instability in the region. Internally, it has repeatedly destabilized elected governments. It was the primary supporter of the Taliban in Afghanistan, responsible for bringing them into power. Recently, an American official was quoted as saying that the U.S. did not realize how critical the Pakistanis were in propping up the Taliban -- when that support was finally withdrawn four weeks after the start of the American bombing, the Taliban regime collapsed. ISI, Pakistan military's intelligence service is believed to have been deeply involved in heroin smuggling operations -- with such operations providing the bulk of its operating budget. And the ISI continues to sponsor terrorism against neighboring India.
The Future of Pakistan
Despite the diabolical role of the Pakistan military, it has been an axiom of faith among policy makers in the U.S., and even in arch rival India, that the continuation of Pakistan is desirable, even necessary, for stability in the region. Several reasons are commonly advanced for this position: the dissolution of Pakistan would encourage divisions within India; it would result in an uncertain future for nuclear weapons now in the hands of the stable Pakistan military, and a view among the U.S. policymakers that the Pakistani state can serve as a useful client or proxy in the war against terrorism. None of these reasons stands up to closer scrutiny.
India has largely succeeded in its national integration through democracy, federalism, and building of strong independent institutions such as the judiciary and the media. Its future will depend on the continuing strength of these internal institutions in addressing its needs. No doubt these needs are many, some visible ones such as increased economic growth and improved efficiency in the distribution of goods, and some less visible ones such as cultural and linguistic protection for smaller ethnic groups.
Nuclear weapons in the hands of Pakistan pose a danger to peace, not only in South Asia but elsewhere. Policy makers are lulled into complacency by the experience of the cold war where the doctrine of 'Mutually Assured Destruction' kept the superpowers from directly waging war. In fact, such analogizing fails to appreciate the psychology of the forces at work in the Pakistan military. During the cold war, the superpowers -- fearful of a nuclear holocaust -- avoided direct conflict with each other. On the other hand, emboldened by its possession of nuclear weapons, the Pakistan military not only increased its support for terrorism against India, it directly attacked India in Kargil -- gambling that India will not want to escalate the fight by employing its conventional superiority in new theaters of war.
It may seem far fetched to the rational mind that some Islamist faction within the military could seize and smuggle nuclear weapons or materials for use in 'jihad' against India, Israel or a Western power. In fact, given an understanding of the type of religious fanaticism common in the Pakistan military at all levels, it is likely not a question of 'if' but 'when', left unchecked, such a scenario will unfold. The moral barometer of the military can be appreciated by observing that it is the very same unreconstructed and unrepentant military that massacred millions of people in Bangladesh and provided logistic support to the Taliban and Al-Qaeda terrorists in Afghanistan.
Those who believe that it is possible to bribe or browbeat Pakistan into a compliant client state have been missing the elaborate game of charade played for long by the Pakistani military. While it is a state that chose to support the international coalition against terrorism when and where it had no choice, in the long run the prejudices of its dominant ethnic group will be reflected in its covert policies. Sure, the Pakistan military provided visible support to the coalition -- but in all likelihood, the military also covertly organized pro-Taliban, anti-U.S. demonstration to exaggerate its own role. And the Pakistani dictator General Musharaf, justifying his decision to support the coalition, implied that it was a tactical compromise on the way to securing an eventual 'victory against the infidels and the Jews.' It should be clear where the real goals of Pakistan lie, despite protestations to get increased aid from the West and strengthen its own institution while continuing to build Islamist proxy forces.
What Replaces Pakistan?
Dissolution of Pakistan will largely bring things back into their natural national and ethnic boundaries. The Pushtun areas of Pakistan belong with the newly liberated Afghanistan. Kashmiris in India already enjoy numerous unique protections, e.g. against encroachment by migration from other parts of India. A unified Kashmir will be able to negotiate ways of maintaining its identity in India. Distinct ethnic regions in the Pakistani occupied part of the former kingdom of Kashmir, such as Baltistan and Gilgit, could enjoy greater autonomy.
A successor Pakistani Punjabi state would be far easier to contain. Bounded within plains that are easy to penetrate and police, stripped of 80% of the resources now consumed by its military, it would be far less menacing. Ironically, freed of its militaristic pretensions, it could enjoy greater economic growth and prosperity in the long run by embracing a more peaceful ideology.
The Future of Sindh
What about the future of Sindh and Pakistan-occupied Baluchistan? Baluchistan is a desert area, though rich in some mineral deposits. The bulk of Baluchi population lives on the border of Sindh and has enjoyed free movement and interchange with the Sindhi people. It is likely that the fate of these two regions is tied together, as it was in older times.
Sindh is rich in agriculture, has deposits of oil, coal and gas, and a well-developed port. It is the most industrialized region in the neighborhood. Shorn of the huge subsidy claimed by Punjab and its military, Sindh is likely to see rapid economic growth. This growth will be aided and abetted by the large number of expatriate Sindhi entrepreneurs and industrialists, including some billionaires. Sindhis have an ancient mercantile tradition, and their emphasis on pragmatism, tolerance and harmony are all useful attributes in a modern economy.
Should Sindh be a Part of India?
There are a number of arguments in favor of Sindh joining the Indian union. India is a secular, democratic country which is well-suited to the psyche of the sufi-minded Sindhis. Four months after the creation of Pakistan, 20% of the population of Sindhis was forced to migrate to India when hordes of refugees were encouraged by the Pakistani government to riot in hitherto peaceful Sindhi cities. Many of these Sindhis have settled in India and, after a long arduous struggle, they have prospered. While the diaspora Sindhis no doubt enjoy the moral and legal right of return, it is unlikely that a majority of them would now opt to migrate back to their ancestral homes. Under the circumstances, the unification of Sindh with India would allow the two groups of Sindhis to easily interact and support each other.
Unfortunately, Sindh cannot afford to unify with India in the near future. The greatest threat to Sindhis is demographic -- up to a quarter of those living in Sindh are Mohajirs, Muslims who migrated from Northern Indian provinces such as Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. The population of areas where they immigrated from continues to increase rapidly while the economic growth of those areas remains stunted. The linguistic, cultural and religious affinity of Mohajirs with their brethren in North India could make Sindh a magnet for further immigration unless Sindh is able to exercise vigorous control of its borders.
An independent Sindh will serve as a natural conduit for oil and gas pipelines from energy rich Central Asia to energy starved South Asia. Without an entrenched bureaucracy, Sindh will rapidly lead the way to economic expansion in South Asia. Most significantly for the rest of the world, given its long peaceful sufi tradition, an independent Sindh will provide a bulwark against fanaticism and promote peace and prosperity.
Policy makers would do well to focus their energy on the unenviable but inevitable task of dismantling Pakistan as expeditiously as possible.
By Malik Siraj Akbar
A few years ago, my friend Basant Lal Gulshan, a reputed political representative of the Hindu community in Balochistan and currently a minister in Nawab Mohammad Aslam Raisani’s cabinet, visited me at my Daily Times bureau office inside Universal Complex on Jinnah Road, Quetta. We discussed over a cup of coffee amid irritating load-shedding in a July noon about the social, political and economic state of the Hindus, the largest religious minority in Balochistan.
“Basant, tell me one thing,” I said as he glanced at an Urdu newspaper lying on the large wooden table.
“What? Are you also trying to convert me into Islam?” he laughed and wittingly referred to one such question that he, and surely several other Hindus, had to grow up with in a Muslim-majority society.
“Aray no,” I immediately interrupted, “Just tell me, when did the Hindus first come to Balochistan and Where did they come from?”
Basant laughed loudly at what I subsequently realized was an absurd question.
“What do you mean that when and from where the Hindus came?” he explained, “Hindus are in fact the original inhabitants of this place. They were very much here even before the arrival of anyone else in Balochistan. Hindus have been living in Balochistan since time immemorial.”
Basant had a valid point. Hindus have lived in Balochistan for centuries. They have loved Balochistan for its secular and religiously tolerant culture. While millions of non-Muslims left for India at the time of Partition in 1947 from all three provinces of Pakistan, the Hindus of Balochistan, on the other hand, did not emulate their compatriots. They have not only lived in Balochistan with much respect and tranquility but also possessed exorbitant businesses in Quetta, the capital of Balochistan, and many other districts of the gas-rich province. One finds a sizeable number of Hindus running impressive businesses and offering laudable social services in the districts of Jaffarabad, Naseerabad, Bolan, Jhal Magsi, Sibi, Khuzdar, Kalat, Dera Bugti, Mastung, Quetta, Lasbela and other districts.
My journalistic mentor Siddiq Baluch often jokingly reminds me that if you pick up the telephone directory of one of these Baloch districts, you will find so many (Hinud surnames) Kumars, Kapoors and Sharmas that you will start believing for a while that you are searching the telephone directory of Mumbai or New Delhi.
The behavior of secular Baloch tribal chiefs has historically been friendlier than the State towards the Hindus minorities. For example, prominent Baloch leader Nawab Mohammad Akbar Khan Bugti, who was killed by Pervez Musharraf regime in a military operation, used to keep the Hindu population very close to his legendary fort in order to safeguard the religious minorities from the criminal elements present in the area. It was this reason that when the fort of Nawab Bugti was attacked by the Frontier Corps (FC) on March 17, 2005, a lot of Hindus, mainly women and children, were killed in the assault which was directed at the Baloch tribal chief and a former chief minister of the gas-rich province.
The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), the country’s foremost credible human rights watchdog, in its 2005 report “Conflict in Balochistan” issued the list of 31 Hindus, including 19 children, 3 women and 11 men, who were killed by the security forces in the attack on Nawab Bugti’s fort.
Another 24 Hindus were injured in the same attack. No investigation was ever carried out against the killing of innocent Hindus by the security forces nor was any one punished for this grave violation of human, more importantly minority, rights. Unapologetic about their actions, the security forces further intensified their war against democratic Balochs until it culminated in the state-sponsored murder of a former Baloch chief minister Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti, 79.
Even in the most turbulent times, the Baloch leaders endeavored to ensure the safety and security of the Hindus. They were offered a sense of ownership and equal status in the society because of their peaceful nature, loyalty with their historic land and enormous contributions in the local businesses. They were never discriminated against on the basis of religion in the Baloch society where ethnic identity is still given preference over the religious identity.
Unfortunately, Balochistan has recently witnessed the surge of violence against Hindus with the rise of criminal activities. The provincial government, headed by the Pakistan People’s Party, has entirely failed to guard the life and property of the people living in the province. The presence of an incompetent government that has remained unable to maintain its writ in the province, several criminal groups have been encouraged to take the whole society hostage. These groups particularly target the Hindu businessmen in cases of kidnapping for ransom.
Since the Hindus are actively involved in local businesses and lack considerable representation in the local politics, media and the civil society, they have become a very soft target of the criminal groups. Dozens of Hindus have been kidnapped by these criminal groups from time to time in different parts of Balochistan. The provincial government has not taken tangible measures to immediately address this pressing issue.
The killing of Hamesh Kumar, a Hindu trader, in Quetta city and the kidnapping of his son, Rajesh, earlier this week is a graver reminder of an opening chapter of violence against religious minorities. No matter what the motives behind such desperate actions are, they lead to more insecurity among the members of the Hindu community. Insecure and terrorized Hindus bring shame to secular Balochistan. Therefore, Baloch tribal elders and nationalist parties should also rise to reiterate their commitment to minority rights.
Members of the Balochistan Assembly hailing from the minority community, including my friend Basant Lal Gulshan, staged a walk out during the previous session to vent their anger over the increasing violence directed at the Hindu community in Balochistan. The minority MPAs must not have walked out of the BA happily as all of them are already a part of the provincial government. They must not have done so to offend the provincial chief minister. In fact they did so as a last resort to draw the attention of the chief minister and the top officials of the provincial government towards the kidnapping and killing of Hindu traders.
It is, I admit, unfair to ask for selective justice from the government. After all, the responsibility of the government is to safeguard all members of the society irrespective of their religious and ethnic affiliations. On the other hand, one would hardly expect any improvement in the state of insecurity that has engulfed the Hindus of Balochistan for the reason that the province is already undergoing an anarchic phase of its history. Teasing tactics and violent behavior with the religious minorities is not the hallmark of the Baloch society and the current cycle of violence should be reversed.
The writer is the editor of The Baloch Hal: email@example.com
By SELIG S. HARRISON
While the world focuses on the flood-ravaged Indus River valley, a quiet geopolitical crisis is unfolding in the Himalayan borderlands of northern Pakistan, where Islamabad is handing over de facto control of the strategic Gilgit-Baltistan region in the northwest corner of disputed Kashmir to China.
The entire Pakistan-occupied western portion of Kashmir stretching from Gilgit in the north to Azad (Free) Kashmir in the south is closed to the world, in contrast to the media access that India permits in the eastern part, where it is combating a Pakistan-backed insurgency. But reports from a variety of foreign intelligence sources, Pakistani journalists and Pakistani human rights workers reveal two important new developments in Gilgit-Baltistan: a simmering rebellion against Pakistani rule and the influx of an estimated 7,000 to 11,000 soldiers of the People’s Liberation Army.
China wants a grip on the region to assure unfettered road and rail access to the Gulf through Pakistan. It takes 16 to 25 days for Chinese oil tankers to reach the Gulf. When high-speed rail and road links through Gilgit and Baltistan are completed, China will be able to transport cargo from Eastern China to the new Chinese-built Pakistani naval bases at Gwadar, Pasni and Ormara, just east of the Gulf, within 48 hours.
Many of the P.L.A. soldiers entering Gilgit-Baltistan are expected to work on the railroad. Some are extending the Karakoram Highway, built to link China’s Sinkiang Province with Pakistan. Others are working on dams, expressways and other projects.
Mystery surrounds the construction of 22 tunnels in secret locations where Pakistanis are barred. Tunnels would be necessary for a projected gas pipeline from Iran to China that would cross the Himalayas through Gilgit. But they could also be used for missile storage sites.
Until recently, the P.L.A. construction crews lived in temporary encampments and went home after completing their assignments. Now they are building big residential enclaves clearly designed for a long-term presence.
What is happening in the region matters to Washington for two reasons. Coupled with its support for the Taliban, Islamabad’s collusion in facilitating China’s access to the Gulf makes clear that Pakistan is not a U.S. “ally.” Equally important, the nascent revolt in the Gilgit-Baltistan region is a reminder that Kashmiri demands for autonomy on both sides of the cease-fire line would have to be addressed in a settlement.
Media attention has exposed the repression of the insurgency in the Indian-ruled Kashmir Valley. But if reporters could get into the Gilgit-Baltistan region and Azad Kashmir, they would find widespread, brutally-suppressed local movements for democratic rights and regional autonomy.
When the British partitioned South Asia in 1947, the maharajah who ruled Kashmir, including Gilgit and Baltistan, acceded to India. This set off intermittent conflict that ended with Indian control of the Kashmir Valley, the establishment of Pakistan-sponsored Free Kashmir in western Kashmir, and Pakistan’s occupation of Gilgit and Baltistan, where Sunni jihadi groups allied with the Pakistan Army have systematically terrorized the local Shiite Muslims.
Gilgit and Baltistan are in effect under military rule. Democratic activists there want a legislature and other institutions without restrictions like the ones imposed on Free Kashmir, where the elected legislature controls only 4 out of 56 subjects covered in the state constitution. The rest are under the jurisdiction of a “Kashmir Council” appointed by the president of Pakistan.
India gives more power to the state government in Srinagar; elections there are widely regarded as fair, and open discussion of demands for autonomy is permitted. But the Pakistan-abetted insurgency in the Kashmir Valley has added to tensions between Indian occupation forces and an assertive population seeking greater of local autonomy.
The United States is uniquely situated to play a moderating role in Kashmir, given its growing economic and military ties with India and Pakistan’s aid dependence on Washington. Such a role should be limited to quiet diplomacy. Washington should press New Delhi to resume autonomy negotiations with Kashmiri separatists. Success would put pressure on Islamabad for comparable concessions in Free Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan. In Pakistan, Washington should focus on getting Islamabad to stop aiding the insurgency in the Kashmir Valley and to give New Delhi a formal commitment that it will not annex Gilgit and Baltistan.
Precisely because the Gilgit-Baltistan region is so important to China, the United States, India and Pakistan should work together to make sure that it is not overwhelmed, like Tibet, by the Chinese behemoth.
Selig S. Harrison is director of the Asia Program at the Center for International Policy and a former South Asia bureau chief of The Washington Post.
Ps- Despite the strong Chinese denial, Indian authorities have now acquired "independent" confirmation about the increasing presence of Chinese troops along the line of control (LoC) in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir from none other than US security agencies.
Highly placed sources in the government told TOI on Saturday that US intelligence agencies have confirmed to Indian authorities about the increasing presence of Chinese troops all along the LoC.
The chief of the Northern Command, Lieutenant General K T Parnaik, had last week come out in the open with the disclosure about Chinese soldiers being based in PoK. The Chinese foreign ministry, however, denied this even describing these reports as baseless and ridiculous.
The United States should support the implementation of the provincial autonomy provisions of the 1973 Constitution to reduce the dangerous growth of ethnic tensions that threaten Pakistan’s survival, and should condition future aid on action to disarm Lashkar-e-Taiba to prevent a new attack on India, recommended Selig Harrison, director of the Asia program at the Center for International Policy. In a session moderated by George Perkovich, Harrison discussed his latest report, “Pakistan: The State of the Union,” which highlights the dangers of ethnic tensions in Pakistan.
Harrison explained that Pakistan is an artificial political entity which consists of four ethnic groups—Punjabis, Pashtuns, Baluch, and Sindhis—that have historically never co-existed in the same body politic. Punjabis, with 45 percent of the population, dominate the Army and the state, and treat the minorities, collectively constituting 33 percent of the population, as pariahs, even though the minorities regard 72 percent of Pakistan territory as their ancestral homelands.
All of the minorities oppose Punjabi domination, and the Baluch have waged a non-stop insurgency since their forcible incorporation into Pakistan. The Pashtuns have been radicalized and many driven into the arms of Al Qaeda and the Taliban by the civilian casualties resulting from U.S. drone aircraft attacks.
Accommodate the Baluch, Return to the 1973 Constitution
The Baluch insurgency is fueled by Punjabi economic exploitation of Baluchistan. Forcibly incorporated into Pakistan by the Army in 1958, Baluchistan has never received a fair proportion of the revenues generated by its gas supply to other parts of the country. These tensions have created political instability:
• The Pakistani Army and the ISI have tried to divide the Baluch by buying them off, assassinating their leaders and incarcerating 900 Baluchi and Sindhi activists without access to lawyers or courts.
• The Baluch have begun to form alliances with the Sindhis to pursue the goal of a sovereign Baluch-Sindhi federation stretching from India to Iran. This goal is not likely to be achieved unless Lashkar-e-Taiba stages another attack on India, a new India-Pakistan war erupts, and India abandons its present policy of supporting a stable Pakistan and adopts a new policy of support for separatist policies there.
• Although Pakistan has accused India of supplying arms to the Baluch for years, these accusations are not credible because Baluch insurgent groups use ineffectual small arms. However, India could easily supply large-scale sophisticated weaponry and funds. Even without Indian assistance, the insurgents’ paramilitary capabilities are likely to increase in the future.
• Pakistan needs to implement the 1973 constitution and devolve power to the provinces to prevent the Baluch insurgency from derailing its economic development.
Prevent the Merger of Taliban and Pashtun Nationalism
Harrison pointed out that only 50.5 percent of the Pashtun electorate had voted to become part of Pakistan in 1947, in a referendum which did not provide the option of an independent “Pashtunistan” proposed by the elected Pashtun leadership of the Northwest Frontier Province. Post-1947, Pakistan’s right to rule over Pashtun areas has been challenged by all the regimes in Afghanistan, including the Pakistan-supported Taliban. Pashtun resentment against Pakistan has only grown in the last few years:
• The sense of Pashtun victimization at the hands of outside forces resulting from the drone attacks has allowed the Taliban to pose as a champion of both Pashtun nationalism and Islam.
• If the merging of Pashtun nationalism and Taliban is to be reversed, the United States must stop drone attacks and focus on encouraging local peace deals. It must also support the political goals of the FATA Pashtuns, who do not want to be ruled by the Punjabi dominated central government, and push for the integration of Punjab FATA and NWFP.
• The United States should encourage the creation within Pakistan of “Pakhtunkhwa,” a unified Pashtun province which would bring together FATA, NWFP and the Pashtun areas of Punjab and Baluchistan. Such support for the Pashtun desire to be politically united would improve the psychological climate necessary for Pashtun cooperation in the campaign against al Qaeda.
Restructure U.S. Aid to Pakistan
Harrison concluded by outlining immediate steps that the U.S. should take to reduce ethnic tensions in Pakistan and to focus its attention on Punjabi Islamist groups.
• Implement the provincial autonomy provisions of the 1973 Constitution.
• Reduce military aid for Pakistan substantially because it is used mainly on the India front, not the Afghan border, and the Army is the main obstacle blocking the constitutional reforms necessary to stabilize the federation.
• Condition aid to Pakistan to disarming Lashkar-e-Taiba, which poses a greater threat to Pakistan than the Taliban. Another attack on India by Lashkar-e-Taiba could lead to Indian retaliation or support for the Baluch cause, which could lead to a break up of Pakistan.
In the Q&A session, Harrison argued that the Al-Qaeda threat should be managed by covert operations rather than drone strikes, in order to minimize civilian casualties and radicalization of the Pashtuns.
Full Report Here- http://www.ciponline.org/asia/reports/pakistan_the_state_of_the_union.pdf
By -George Perkovich, Selig Harrison