Archive for August, 2011

Eid ul-Fitr 2011

Pakistan’s 10 Years of Chaos

As Reported by Jennie Matthew for AFP

The 9/11 attacks that thrust Pakistan into the war on terror have brought the nuclear-armed state to its knees, fighting Islamist radicals at home and risking pariah status abroad.

It was already evening in Pakistan when television channels, recently deregulated by then president General Pervez Musharraf, began broadcasting the terrifying scenes from the twin towers in New York.

Few slept that night, realising immediately that the world had changed forever and that Pakistan was in the eye of the storm after spending years fostering extremist movements for its own ends.

“My immediate thought was ‘oh my God, more trouble coming onto Pakistan’,” said author Imtiaz Gul, who has written extensively about the subsequent war and its fallout at home.

“My fears have been borne out… The 9/11 events shocked Pakistan into an unprecedented crisis of insecurity,” he said.
It didn’t take long for Musharraf to weigh up conditions imposed by Washington and announce on September 19 that Pakistan would offer its airspace, territory and capabilities to help the United States defeat terrorism.

But as America put the finishing touches to its war plans, Pakistan desperately tried to persuade its Taliban allies in Afghanistan to give up Osama bin Laden and avert catastrophic military action, to no avail.

Within weeks, bin Laden, his future successor Ayman al-Zawahiri and Taliban leaders had fled the American invasion into Pakistan.

And there in the northwestern tribal belt, which no government has been able to subjugate, they found refuge among an extremist support network dating back to the 1990s jihad against the Soviets in Afghanistan.

They regrouped, forming bases used by the Taliban to direct the insurgency in Afghanistan and training camps for Al-Qaeda to brainwash young extremists from all over the world into carrying out terror attacks.

As a result, the last decade has made the only Muslim nuclear power more unstable than ever before in its bloody and chaotic 64-year existence.

The watershed came in July 2007 when government troops cleared out extremists preaching hate from the Red mosque in the heart of the capital Islamabad.

The militants declared war and in the past four years, around 500 bomb attacks have killed 4,600 people, according to an AFP tally.
Just when it appeared things couldn’t get worse, this year the US discovered bin Laden living close to Pakistan’s equivalent of West Point, sending in Navy SEALs to kill him and sinking already fractured US-Pakistani relations.

“No doubt that this is absolutely the worst time for the country,” said Pakistani journalist Ahmed Rashid, whose book “Taliban” became an international bestseller after 9/11.

Rashid describes Pakistan as “completely isolated” by a war that “brought terrorism, sectarianism, a weakening of the state (and) much greater ethnic insurgencies” within the country.

But the blame — he says — is Pakistan’s for frittering away American aid money and refusing to realign its national security priorities.
“Politically, the most far-reaching mistake was the hosting and relaunching of the Afghan Taliban by the military and the intelligence agencies. That was enormously detrimental and led to the growth of the Pakistani Taliban.” Pakistan routinely proclaims to have sacrificed the most of any country fighting terror.

The government claims that 35,000 people have been killed. The army confirms the deaths of 3,019 soldiers since 2001 — more than the 2,684 Western soldiers to have died in Afghanistan.

More than three million people have been displaced by violence and counter-terrorism activities in Pakistan since 9/11, according to International Crisis Group figures released in 2010.

The army says 147,000 troops are deployed in the northwest compared to 35,000 in October 2001, a drastic reversal from the previous concentration along the Indian border in the east.

Yet extremism has increased. An average of one US drone strike every four days against militants in the tribal belt is raising fears that the campaign is recruiting a new generation of insurgents and suicide bombers.

Jihadist groups — fostered by Pakistan’s security establishment to fight India in Kashmir and maintain Afghanistan as a strategic asset — have splintered, and increasingly turned the guns on their old allies in the state.

“Pakistan is a lot less secure country now than 10 years ago, because it has become a battleground, an extension of the Afghan war. Pakistan is now facing a serious threat for its stability,” said journalist Zahid Hussain.

Yet the public discourse concentrates less on how to defeat militancy than debating the merits of the hugely unpopular US alliance.
Trust between Islamabad and Washington is at an all-time low. Cooperation between the CIA and Pakistan’s ISI spy agency is poor. Blame games on both sides are played out in the media.

Compounding the sense of crisis is the country’s economic meltdown. Pakistan says losses related to the war are $68 billion. Critics say the country has squandered up to $20 billion in aid given by the United States. “The biggest mistake was the failure to really address strategic issues in the economy. Pakistan could have changed its very weak economic structure at that point in time,” said Rashid.

Instead crippling inflation, rampant unemployment and an energy crisis with power cuts of up to 16 hours a day have left millions wondering how to fill the void.

Eid al Fitr To Be Celebrated Tomorrow in US: Fiqh Council Clarifies Eid Dates Controversy

As Reported by The Northern Voices Online

The biggest Muslim festival celebrated across the world, Eid al Fitr, is set to be held tomorrow in US and many other nations. Though in South Asia it will probably be celebrated on Wednesday.

There were some questions about the announcement of Eid in advance by the Fiqh Council of North America. Now the council has announced clarifications on the issue.

Doubts have been raised by some about the decision of the Fiqh Council of North America and the European Council of Fatwa and Research about the date of Eidul Fitr this year on August 30, 2011. Following are some clarifications from the Fiqh Council of North America.

The Fiqh Council of North America recognizes astronomical calculation as an acceptable Shar’i method for determining the beginning of Lunar months including the months of Ramadan and Shawwal. FCNA uses Makkah al-Mukarram as a conventional point and takes the position that the conjunction must take place before sunset in Makkah and moon must set after sunset in Makkah.

The Astronomical New Moon is on August 29, 2011 (Monday) at 3:04 Universal Time (6:04 a.m. Makkah time). On Monday, August 29, sunset at Makkah is 6:40 p.m. local time, while moonset is at 6:44 pm local time.

It is claimed that the new moon will not be visible on August 29 anywhere in the world. This information is not correct.

In United States the birth of Astronomical new moon is on August 28, 2011 (Sunday) at 11:04 p.m. (New York), at 8:04 p.m. (California) and 5:04 p.m. (Hawaii).

On Monday, August 29, the Crescent will set 13 minutes after sunset in San Diego, California and 28 minutes after sunset in Honolulu, Hawaii.

On Monday, August 29 the Crescent should be visible in Hawaii by binoculars and telescope and in South America by naked eye.

The Shawwal Crescent of Monday, August 29 is acceptable according to Shari’ah for those who recognize the Global sighting as it is also acceptable according to the criteria adopted by the Fiqh Council of North America.

Eidul Fitr is on Tuesday, August 30, 2011. Eid Mubarak and best wishes for a blessed Eid with peace and harmony among all.

C.I.A. Drone Is Said to Kill Al Qaeda’s No. 2

By Mark Mazzetti for The New York Times


A drone operated by the CIA killed Al Qaeda’s second-ranking figure in the mountains of Pakistan on Monday, American and Pakistani officials said Saturday, further damaging a terrorism network that appears significantly weakened since the death of Osama bin Laden in May.

An American official said that the drone strike killed Atiyah Abd al-Rahman, a Libyan who in the last year had taken over as Al Qaeda’s top operational planner. Mr. Rahman was in frequent contact with Bin Laden in the months before the terrorist leader was killed on May 2 by a Navy Seals team, intelligence officials have said.

American officials described Mr. Rahman’s death as particularly significant as compared with other high-ranking Qaeda operatives who have been killed, because he was one of a new generation of leaders that the network hoped would assume greater control after Bin Laden’s death.

Thousands of electronic files recovered at Bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, revealed that Bin Laden communicated frequently with Mr. Rahman. They also showed that Bin Laden relied on Mr. Rahman to get messages to other Qaeda leaders and to ensure that Bin Laden’s recorded communications were broadcast widely.

After Bin Laden was killed, Mr. Rahman became Al Qaeda’s No. 2 leader under Ayman al-Zawahri, who succeeded Bin Laden.

There were few details on Saturday about the strike that killed Mr. Rahman. In the months since Bin Laden’s death, the C.I.A. has maintained a barrage of drone missile strikes on mountainous redoubts in Pakistan, a bombing campaign that continues to strain America’s already turbulent relationship with Pakistan.

The C.I.A almost never consults Pakistani officials in advance of a drone strike, and a Pakistani government official said Saturday that the United States had told Pakistan’s government that Mr. Rahman had been the target of the strike only after the spy agency confirmed that he had been killed.

The drone strikes have been the Obama administration’s preferred means of hunting and killing operatives from Al Qaeda and its affiliate groups. Over the past year the United States has expanded the drone war to Yemen and Somalia.

Some top American officials have said publicly that they believe Al Qaeda is in its death throes, though many intelligence analysts are less certain, saying that the network built by Bin Laden has repeatedly shown an ability to regenerate.

Yet even as Qaeda affiliates in places like Yemen and North Africa continue to plot attacks against the West, most intelligence analysts believe that the remnants of Al Qaeda’s leadership in Pakistan have been weakened considerably. Mr. Rahman’s death is another significant blow to the group.

“Atiyah was at the top of Al Qaeda’s trusted core,” the American official said. “His combination of background, experience and abilities are unique in Al Qaeda — without question, they will not be easily replaced.”

The files captured in Abbottabad revealed, among other things, that Bin Laden and Mr. Rahman discussed brokering a deal with Pakistan: Al Qaeda would refrain from mounting attacks in the country in exchange for protection for Qaeda leaders hiding in Pakistan.

American officials said that they found no evidence that either of the men ever raised the idea directly with Pakistani officials, or that Pakistan’s government had any knowledge that Bin Laden was hiding in Abbottabad.

Mr. Rahman also served as Bin Laden’s liaison to Qaeda affiliates. Last year, American officials said, Mr. Rahman notified Bin Laden of a request by the leader of Al Qaeda’s affiliate in Yemen to install Anwar al-Awlaki, the radical American-born cleric, as the leader of the group in Yemen.

That group, known as Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, apparently thought Mr. Awlaki’s status as an Internet celebrity, for his popular video sermons, and his knowledge of the United States might help the group’s fund-raising efforts. But according to the electronic files in Abbottabad, Bin Laden told Mr. Rahman that the group’s leadership should remain unchanged.

After Bin Laden’s death, some intelligence officials saw a cadre of Libyan operatives as poised to assume greater control inside Al Qaeda, which at times has been fractured by cultural rivalries.

Libyan operatives like Mr. Rahman, they said, had long bristled at the leadership of an older generation, many of them Egyptian like Mr. Zawahri and Sheikh Saeed al-Masri.

Mr. Masri was killed last year by a C.I.A. missile, as were several Qaeda operations chiefs before him. The job has proved to be particularly deadly, American officials said, because the operations chief has had to transmit the guidance of Bin Laden and Mr. Zawahri to Qaeda operatives elsewhere, providing a way for the Americans to track him through electronic intercepts.

Mr. Rahman assumed the role after Mr. Masri’s death. Now that Mr. Rahman has died, American officials said it was unclear who would take over the job.

China launches communications satellite for Pakistan

As Reported by The South Asian News Agency

The year 2011 marks 60 years of diplomatic relationship between China and Pakistan. This all-weather relationship has largely withstood ‘the test of time’.

Both states recognize the relevance of their cooperation in areas like security, trade and culture. All these years China has mostly followed the ‘friend of Pakistan policy’. From the Indian perspective the focus of their cooperation, which has mostly revolved around security issues, has been a source of anxiety. Apart from the question of direct military aid, India must also take note of China’s assistance to Pakistan in the field of science and technology as well since it has long-term strategic implications. China launched Pakistan’s first communications satellite (PAKSAT-1R) on August 12, 2011 on a Long March-3B carrier rocket. This event demonstrates the deepening in technological cooperation between these two states. For China this was also an event to display the capabilities of its rapidly growing commercial satellite industry.

Over the years Pakistan has largely demonstrated a copycat syndrome (with reference to India) as far as programmes of strategic importance are concerned. Pakistan’s technological and industrial base is not well-established in comparison with India. Therefore, to match India, Pakistan has relied on foreign (overt or covert) help. In certain cases Pakistan also developed underground networks to ‘manage’ hardware/technology. However, Pakistan’s investments in space technologies have been minimal. This is somewhat surprising particularly, because it has a reasonably well-developed missile programme which, in fact, could have helped at least partially to build up an indigenous space programme.

Pakistan’s lack of interest in space technology could be due to three reasons. Firstly, the Pakistani focus on long-term investments in technology has predominantly been military specific over the years. The use of technology for social, educational and scientific needs was not the prime focus. Secondly, Pakistan appears to have failed to anticipate the long-term strategic importance of space technologies. What is more surprising is the failure to understand the importance of space technologies particularly, in the background of the country’s nuclear ambitions. Thirdly, because of superfluous investments in military hardware, Pakistan was unable to make investments in space technology. Also, the state appears to have failed to realise the future commercial relevance of a space programme.

Against this backdrop the launch of the made in China PAKSAT-1R with 30 transponders for the purposes of communications services marks a new beginning. This satellite would take care of broadband Internet, telecom and broadcasting services. It is expected to cover South Asia, Europe, West Asia and eastern Africa and is also likely to help in weather monitoring. Being a communication satellite its dual-use nature could offer strategic defence applications as well. Pakistan has been collaborating with China in the space arena since the 1990s. Its first satellite Badr-1 was launched by China on July 16, 1990 (on a Long March 2E rocket). However, during the span of the last two decades, Pakistan’s space programme has not made any significant progress baring two more satellite launches with outside help. Pakistan’s space agency called Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (SUPARCO) was established in 1961 as a committee. It was upgraded into a Commission in 1981. But it has failed to make any significant progress.

The August 2011 launch of a communication satellite opens a new chapter in Pakistan’s space history. Today, Pakistan has no launch vehicle of its own to launch satellites of any type. It has a long way to go in developing expertise in this arena as well as in satellite manufacture though the very first satellite was developed indigenously. Pakistan also needs to invest in the development of Spaceport and ground stations. All this will take time and its dependence on China is expected to increase in coming years.

Since their border settlement pact of March 3, 1963 the relationship between these two neighbours of India has been steadily growing. In the field of space there was a pause for almost two decades particularly, in the high-end projects like satellite launches. However, during these years a certain degree of collaboration was underway for personnel training and infrastructure development. Pakistan’s inadequacy in the space field offers China an opportunity to take their strategic partnership to a higher plane and also simultaneously maintain its own commercial interests.

For the last couple of years China has been using space technology to further its geopolitical as well as commercial interests. Now, Pakistan offers it an opportunity to use space engagement for strategic purposes as well. China has begun to help states like Nigeria and Venezuela with their satellite programmes. Also, recently China signed a deal with Bolivia for building and launching a satellite. In comparison with the western space agencies, China offers better commercial deals. Also, China has earned a prestige for its space programme with various successful space launches. Naturally, various developing states in the world are looking towards China.

China’s space programme is surging ahead at a much faster rate than India’s. Pakistan’s space programme is likely to remain in infancy for some more time to come. However, nuclear Pakistan is likely to pursue its space agenda (with China’s help) with more vigour in the future. On the military front, it is bound to benefit from various Chinese programmes like the navigational programme (COMPASS constellation). India needs to look at these developments seriously. Till date Pakistan’s space capabilities were probably not factored into India’s strategic planning, but that must change

Edible Arrangements–A Pakistani-American’s Success Story

By Riaz Haq for RiazHaq.com

Tariq Farid is the founder and CEO of Edible Arrangements, a successful international franchise business that specializes in delivering gifts of beautifully arranged bouquets of edibles like fruits and candy on holidays and various other special occasions.

Currently in its 11th year of operation, the company boasts 883 franchise locations in the United States, the United Kingdom and Kuwait. The company earned $300 million in revenue last year, according to published reports.

Born near Sahiwal in Pakistan, Tariq Farid has founded several other companies. One is Frutation by Edible Arrangements, which includes salads and fruit drinks. They’re sold in Edible Arrangements stores and stand-alone stores. He also created Netsolace, which provides software for the franchise industry. Another, BerryDirect, offers containers, vases and other products to our Edible Arrangements franchisees and other companies. His latest start-up is Farid Capital Corporation, a financing company that helps franchisees buy equipment.

The key to Farid’s success, he says, has come from paying attention to often overlooked details such as the website, order tracking and follow-up customer service, the logo and branding, and employee training.

The economy may need more entrepreneurs like Farid – according to the International Franchise Association, every $1 million lent to franchise small businesses creates 34 jobs and $3.6 million in annual economic output, cited Reuters.

Here is Farid in his own words describing his journey:

I was born in Pakistan and came to the United States in 1981, when I was 11. My grandfather owned a farm in Pakistan and we had been fairly well-to-do. We started at the bottom when we came here. My father found a job as a machinist during the day and worked at McDonald’s and Burger King at night.

All five of my siblings pitched in. I delivered newspapers to 300 houses. Instead of putting the paper into the mailbox, I’d deliver it to the door. I got great tips. When I was 13, a flower shop hired me to water the flowers. Soon I was taking care of orders. By 16, I had learned a lot.

One day my father found a flower shop for sale in the paper. The owner wanted $6,000. My dad asked me if I could run the shop, and I said sure. We got a cash advance and a loan from a friend. I thought I’d negotiate, and asked the owner what terms he was offering. He looked at me as if to say, “What can this kid possibly know?”

We opened a week before Easter and earned about $50 a day. I stayed open until 7 p.m., seven days a week, because few other flower shops did. I thought $350 a week was wonderful. Soon, sales doubled, and I was shocked. Five years later, we had three shops and were making close to $1 million a year. I said we needed to make more, about $5,000 a day. My mother asked me if I remembered when I was making $50 a day and she suggested that I relax. I told her that it never really ends, and that I could achieve that goal.

It was a lot of work. I didn’t really have a social life. We stayed open on holidays. On my way to high school, I’d drop off my mother at the shop. She spoke no English, so I told her what to do to supervise the two employees. After school I’d make flower arrangements and deliver them myself until I could hire a driver.

I attended college part-time, but I started weighing the benefit against what I was making. I decided to put off school, and I never finished. I was so young when I started a career that I blindly jumped into it.

Edible Arrangements, which I started in 1999 with my brother, Kamran, goes back to our roots. In Pakistan, my father always brought home tons of fruit for us. When we started the company, we created basic fruit arrangements that included fresh pineapple, strawberries, cantaloupe and more, and later added extras like chocolate and cinnamon toppings.

We got 30 orders the first day. We had learned from our flower stores, so this time did everything right. A stranger asked about opening a store, which gave us the idea to franchise them. I knew nothing about the franchise industry, so I contacted an association for the names of experts and found Michael Seid. He gave great advice.

I’ve started several other companies. One is Frutation by Edible Arrangements, which includes salads and fruit drinks. They’re sold in Edible Arrangements stores and stand-alone stores. I also started Netsolace, which provides software for the franchise industry. Another, BerryDirect, offers containers, vases and other products to our Edible Arrangements franchisees and other companies. I just started the Farid Capital Corporation, a financing company that helps franchisees buy equipment.

When I was starting out, I used to give my mother $50 a week. When I wanted to buy a building for our second Edible Arrangements location, I needed $40,000 more than I had. My mother had saved the money I gave her over the years and handed it back to me. She asked only that I do something in her name someday and give her $20,000 for my sister’s wedding.

When my mother passed away in 2000, I started a foundation in her memory. The organization built a hospital in Pakistan for needy people and an Islamic school in the United States.

Originally published in The New York Times as told to Patricia R. Olsen
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Pakistan’s Bitter, Little-Known Ethnic Rebellion

By Carlotta Gall for The New Times

A slim figure in a dark suit, Brahumdagh Bugti, 30, could pass for a banker in the streets of this sedate Swiss city. But in truth he is a resistance leader in exile, a player in an increasingly ugly independence war within Pakistan.

He has been on the run since 2006, when he narrowly escaped a Pakistani Army operation that killed his grandfather and dozens of his tribesmen in the southwestern province of Baluchistan. And since then, the government’s attempt to stamp out an uprising by the Baluch ethnic minority has only intensified, according to human rights organizations and Pakistani politicians.

The Baluch insurgency, which has gone on intermittently for decades, is often called Pakistan’s Dirty War, because of the rising numbers of people who have disappeared or have been killed on both sides. But it has received little attention internationally, in part because most eyes are turned toward the fight against the Taliban and Al Qaeda in Pakistan’s northwestern tribal areas.

Mr. Bugti insists that he is a political leader only, and that he is not taking a role in the armed uprising against the government. He was caught up in a deadly struggle between his grandfather, Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti, a former minister and a leader of the Bugti tribe, and Pakistan’s military leader at the time, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, over control of Baluchistan’s rich natural resources and the establishment of military bases in the province.

Baluch nationalists have never accepted being part of Pakistan and have fought in five uprisings since the country’s formation in 1948. Their demands range from greater control over Baluchistan’s gas and natural resources, fairer distribution of wealth (Baluchistan suffers from the lowest health, education and living standards in the country), to outright independence.

When the Pakistani Army shelled their ancestral home in Dera Bugti in December 2005, Mr. Bugti took to the hills with his grandfather, who was 80 and partly disabled, and they camped for months in mountain caves. Then, in August 2006, the military caught up with them. “I escaped, but he could not,” Mr. Bugti said.

From a hide-out two miles away, he watched the military assault, a furious three-day bombardment by attack jets, helicopter gunships and airborne troops. On the evening of the third day, the government triumphantly announced that Nawab Bugti had been killed. Thirty-two tribesmen died with him, Mr. Bugti said. The day after learning of his grandfather’s death, Mr. Bugti gathered his closest tribal leaders, and they urged him to leave and save himself, he said.

Pakistan and neighboring Iran were hostile to the Baluch, and the only place to go was Afghanistan, though it was consumed by the war with the Taliban. It took 19 days, on foot, to trek from a mountain base near Sibi to the Afghan border. But he had an armed tribal force and scouts with him and made the escape without incident, crossing into Afghanistan along a mountain trail, he said.

Although he had few contacts there, tribal links and traditions of hospitality assured him a welcome. He sent for his wife, his two children — a third was born in Afghanistan — and his mother, and after an elaborate dance to confuse government watchers, they crossed the border to join him days later.

Yet Afghanistan was not a safe haven. The family moved about 18 times over the next 18 months, and despite never going outside, he said, they became the target of repeated suicide bomb attacks by the Taliban and Qaeda militants, who they believe were sent by the Pakistani military. At least one bomb attack, in the upscale residential Kabul neighborhood of Wazir Akbar Khan, was specifically aimed at Mr. Bugti, a Western diplomat and an Afghan intelligence official said.

The Pakistani government has branded Mr. Bugti a terrorist, the leader of the militant Baluch Republican Army, and has made no secret of its desire to kill or capture him. It has repeatedly demanded that Afghanistan hand him over and has accused India of supporting Baluch rebels through its consulates in Afghanistan.

Pakistan’s remonstrations over Mr. Bugti became so insistent that the United States and other NATO members urged Afghanistan to move Mr. Bugti elsewhere, Western diplomats and Afghan officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the politics involved. In October 2010, he and his family arrived in Switzerland and sought political asylum.

Though Mr. Bugti says he supports only peaceful political activism rather than armed resistance, he does share the rebels’ demand for independence for the Baluch. “I support the political struggle and the idea for liberation because the Baluch people demand it,” he said.

He formed a political party shortly after his grandfather’s death, distancing himself from the established parties. The manner of his grandfather’s death, his call for political opposition to the government and his youth have won him broad support beyond his own Bugti tribe, among the educated Baluch middle class and student movements and appointed representatives in every district.

“We got a very good response from all the Baluch,” he said.

It proved to him that people in Baluchistan still hoped and believed in political change, he said. Yet government retribution was swift. Eight members of his political party in Baluchistan have been killed, five members of its central committee are missing since its formation in 2007 and the top leaders have been forced into exile. Even the party’s 76-year-old secretary general, Bashir Azeem, was detained for two months in 2009 and tortured — including being beaten and hung upside down, in a case documented by Human Rights Watch.

It is part of an increasingly deadly government crackdown on political and student nationalist leaders in the province over the last 18 months, politicians and human rights officials say. “They are trying to kill the activists, anyone who is speaking out,” Mr. Bugti said.

Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have documented a rising number of abuses by the Pakistani security forces in Baluchistan. Amnesty International describes the use of “kill and dump” tactics, under which activists, teachers, journalists and lawyers, even teenagers, have been detained and their bullet-ridden bodies dumped on roadsides at a rate of about 20 a month in recent months.

Human Rights Watch says hundreds of people have disappeared since 2005 in Baluchistan, and it has documented 45 cases of enforced disappearances and torture by Pakistani security forces in the province in 2009 and 2010. Human Rights Watch has also reported a growing trend of retaliation by armed rebels on non-Baluch settlers, including the targeted killings of 22 teachers.

Despite the end of General Musharraf’s rule and Pakistan’s return to a democratic government in 2008, military repression of the Baluch has only increased, Mr. Bugti and others say. Members of the civilian government say they have no power over the military, and the army is obsessed with crushing an uprising that it sees as an effort by India to undermine Pakistani sovereignty.

Mr. Bugti has called on the United States to end aid to the Pakistani Army, which, he said, was diverting resources from intended counterterrorism goals and using them to suppress the Baluch. “If the U.S. stopped the military and financial assistance, they could not continue their operations for long,” he said.

The increased violence has pushed the Baluch far beyond their original demands for greater autonomy and recognition of their rights and toward an armed independence movement. “Ninety-nine percent of the Baluch now want liberation,” Mr. Bugti said.

“The people are more angry and they will go to the side of those using violence, because if you close all the peaceful ways of struggle, and you kidnap the peaceful, political activists, and torture them to death and throw their bodies on roadsides, then definitely they will go and join the armed resistance groups,” he said.

He sees little hope of change from within Pakistan and seeks intervention by the United Nations and Western nations. “We have to struggle hard, maybe for 1 year, 2 years, 20 years,” he said. “We have to hope.”

Indian Inquiry Confirms Graves in Kashmir Hold More Than 2,000 Unidentified Bodies

As Reported by The Associated Press

SRINAGAR, India — Hundreds of unmarked graves in Kashmir hold more than 2,000 bullet-riddled bodies that may include innocent victims, despite police claims that they were militants fighting Indian rule in the disputed Himalayan territory, according to an Indian government report.

The report — following a three-year investigation launched amid allegations of rights abuses by the army, paramilitary and police — is the first official acknowledgment that civilians killed in the two-decade conflict may have been buried in unmarked graves.

It stops short of confirming that suspicion, long alleged by rights groups, but says “there is every possibility that … various unmarked graves at 38 places of north Kashmir may contain the dead bodies of locals.”

Previously, officials have insisted that all the bodies were of militant fighters, as claimed by police when they were handed over to villages for burial.

The report says 2,156 unidentified bodies were found in single and mass graves in three northern mountainous regions, while 574 other bodies found in the graves have been identified as local residents.

The findings by the Jammu-Kashmir State Human Rights Commission are likely to deepen cynicism in restive Kashmir, where anti-India sentiment runs deep and most people want independence or merger with neighboring Pakistan.

India and Pakistan have fought two wars since 1947 for control of the territory, which is divided between them. India accuses Pakistan of arming and training rebel fighters, but Pakistan says it only offers moral and diplomatic support for their cause.

Rebel groups began fighting in 1989 against Indian rule, and more than 68,000 people have been killed in the uprising and subsequent Indian crackdowns. Most have been civilians.

Rights groups have said some 8,000 people have disappeared, and accused government forces of staging gunbattles to cover up killings. The groups also say suspected rebels have been arrested and never heard from again.

The state government has countered that most of the missing were likely Kashmiri youths who crossed into Pakistan for weapons training.

In 2008, a rights group reported unmarked graves in 55 villages across the northern regions of Baramulla, Bandipore and Handwara, after which researchers and other groups reported finding thousands of single and mass graves without markers.

Indian officials set up the commission to investigate and also began a separate police investigation, the findings of which have yet to be released.

The commission’s 17-page report also urged DNA profiling to identify the bodies, saying the matter should be “investigated thoroughly by an impartial agency.”

The head of a local rights group welcomed the report as vindicating its research into the graves.

“Security agencies accused us of maligning the image of the armed forces,” said Pervez Imroz of the International People’s Tribunal on Human Rights and Justice. Now, “we will seek judicial intervention if the government fails to implement the report’s recommendations.”

Pakistan Yearns For a ‘Hazare’ Too

By Farhan Bokhati for Gulf News

The crisis unleashed by anti-corruption protests targeting India’s graft-tainted government offers many lessons for Pakistan. While public rallies in India have lifted the credentials of the 74-year-old veteran campaigner, Anna Hazare, Pakistanis have watched the situation across the border with much interest.

Pakistan is no stranger to corruption in high places. Scandal after scandal involving senior politicians, high-ranking officials and other prominent individuals have become public, underlining the nature of the beast. While there have been high-profile arrests in the past, Pakistan tragically has a poor history when it comes to successful prosecution and sentencing.

Across the country, however, there is widespread popular lament over graft being more than just a mere fact of life. Calls for a revolution come frequently from ordinary Pakistanis, notably those who consider themselves disempowered and marginalised.
In recent days, TV coverage in Pakistan of the anti-graft campaign in India appears to have vividly illustrated the way that events in Delhi have struck a chord across the border. For long, Pakistanis have waited for a messiah but to no avail. Today, the yearning for such a deliverer from corruption appears to be much stronger than ever before.

To make matters worse for the country, Pakistan’s ruling class appears to show no signs of responding to the challenge posed by corruption in high places. Unlike India where a veteran campaigner in his 70s has become the lightning rod for popular opinion and has inspired the public at large to take the cue from him, there is no similar individual who has become a comparable figure in Pakistan.

But like India, Pakistan’s ruling politicians including members of the country’s parliament have seldom considered corruption an important enough issue to be vigorously discussed and debated in parliament. Ironically, for a country where politicians are keen to note the importance of strengthening the evolving democratic framework, it is important to recognise the equal if not greater significance of aggressively battling corruption.

Politicians in Pakistan appear to give no heed to corruption as an issue of vital significance. But what is even more disturbing is indeed the fact that questions raised on the conduct of politicians in relation to impropriety are quickly shoved under the carpet as if they were an attack on democratic values.

In this background, the time has now come for Pakistan to recognise the overwhelming significance of fighting corruption, not just for the country’s overall well-being but also for its ability to sustain its still young democratic order.

Abject poverty
If Pakistan continues to become an even more tainted country where values related to clean governance remain subservient to so-called discussions on democracy and civilian rule, sustaining the latter may remain an uphill task. While reverting to military rule as has been the case in Pakistan’s history may not be an option, it can be stated with a significant degree of certainty that chaos will increasingly become a fact of life going forward. The popular yearning for an end to corruption coincides with what appear to be difficult economic times for Pakistan. The country’s elite have neglected the poorest of the poor for too long.

At least a third of Pakistan’s population, or by some accounts even a higher proportion, continues to live below the poverty line. This essentially means that a large segment of the country’s population, which on its own may be larger than the entire population of many countries, lives in extreme and abject poverty, facing conditions that can simply not be imagined by the ruling elite.

The missing element for now may indeed be that Pakistan has yet to discover a prominent individual like India’s Hazare who becomes the hope for the country’s downtrodden and those in need. Given the desperation felt by many Pakistanis, it is possible that such an individual may be found sooner or later, who then leads calls for a long-overdue change.

The consequences of such an eventuality may be difficult to comprehend at the moment. But given the popular yearning for an abrupt change, it is more than likely that such a change could be tumultuous and even possibly bloody. The easier option for Pakistan’s complacency-driven ruling elite which they are unlikely to embrace going by past precedent, is simply that of learning a lesson from events across the border. The ‘Hazare factor’ in India’s landscape is a breath of fresh air.

Farhan Bokhari is a Pakistan-based commentator who writes on political and economic matters.

Pakistan Partnership Raches For the Stars

By Syed Fazl-e-Haider for The National

By teaming up with China on a satellite launch, Pakistan has taken a bold step forward with its space programme. And there are mutual benefits to the arrangement, Syed Fazl-e-Haider writes. The recent launch of the advanced communication satellite Paksat-1R was not only a big stride forward for Pakistan’s 2040 space programme, but also Sino-Pakistan space collaboration.

Last week, China launched Paksat-1R with the Long March-3B carrier rocket from Xichang Satellite Launch Centre in south-west Sichuan province. The new satellite will replace Paksat-1, which will complete its useful life this year.

Critics have questioned whether Pakistan can really take the credit for the development of a satellite that was made by China, financed by China and ultimately launched by and from China. But Pakistan is now able to achieve several strategic objectives through Paksat-IR, including serving an expanding client base, which includes the military. With the launch of the satellite, the country has entered into a long-term relationship with its manufacturer towards acquiring the know-how to produce satellites in the future, with the ultimate aim of achieving self-reliance. Now it is also able to establish and maintain ground control stations for operating Paksat-1R from Pakistan.

Pakistan’s space programme owes its existence to China’s cooperation that spans from climate science, clean energy technologies, clean water technologies, cyber security and basic space, to atmospheric, Earth and marine sciences. It was China that launched the country’s first low-orbit satellite Badr-A in July 1990. In 2006, China committed to work with Pakistan to launch three earth resource satellites.

Islamabad sought more than US$200 million (Dh734.5m) financing from China for Paksat-1’s replacement. The two countries signed the procurement contract during the first state visit by Asif Ali Zardari, the president of Pakistan, to Beijing in 2008.

Paksat-1, Pakistan’s first geostationary satellite, was launched in February 1996. It served TV broadcasters, telecommunications companies, data and broadband internet service providers, and government organisations.

With a lifespan of 15 years, Paksat-1R will have great economic implications for the country. The satellite will provide high-power communication and weather monitoring facilities, besides strategic defence applications. The Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission will operate it from its ground control stations in Karachi and Lahore. With advance communication antennas, it will cover some regions of Europe, South Asia, the Middle East and eastern Africa. It will facilitate the introduction of new services including broadband internet, digital TV broadcasting, rural telephony, emergency communications, tele-education and tele-medicine.

Pakistan is also making efforts to get space technology from China. It plans to launch the Pakistan Remote Sensing Satellite (PRSS) in the near future with the technical and financial assistance of China. Launching PRSS is now the first priority for Pakistan, because such a satellite can help it in cartographic studies. China has not only achieved the capability of placing its satellites in space, but is also developing rockets. It has created a powerful carrier rocket with military capabilities that can launch multiple satellites into space.

China is conquering new frontiers in space technology. Shenzhou 7, the third manned spaceflight, has established a new threshold for China. It has already planned Shenzhou 8, which will be docked with the Tiangong-1 space module that will place the first portion of China’s planned space laboratory in orbit.

China’s space technology industrial base is rapidly expanding, and its sales overseas have so far focused on its traditional allies including Pakistan. Space and rocket technology from China would help Pakistan achieve its ambitious goals of economic progress and impregnable defence. While China can transfer space technology to Pakistan, in return Pakistan could assist China in space by establishing a station on its soil to track Chinese satellites.

Syed Fazl-e-Haider is a development analyst in Pakistan. He is the author of many books, including The Economic Development of Balochistan, published in May 2004

Kidnapped US National Was Doing Humanitarian Work in Pakistan

By Hussain Kashif

The abducted US expert Warren Weinstein was doing large scale humanitarian work in different public sectors including small and medium industries, agriculture and infrastructure development, which was responsible for bringing significant foreign investment and development in Pakistan.

He was a country director of JE Austin Associates Incorporation, Arlington, Virginia, US, which is a development contractor that works with the aid arm of the US government. Weinstein had also worked on a dairy project in Pakistan and imported dairy chillers to boost the productivity of rural farms in the country, resulting in $63 million in new investment to Pakistan, at least 2,150 new jobs, and a 25 percent boost in producer productivity.

His company is working here on US Agency for International Development (USAID) projects, including one to set up small businesses and create jobs in the restive Tribal Areas in Pakistan. Warren Weinstein was recognised by his company as an expert in international development of industries but they have removed his profile from their website after his kidnapping. The company also worked on helping small businesses in the gem and marble trade in the lower districts of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA).

According to Daily Times sources, he had worked on a multimillion-dollar USAID project to improve dairy, horticulture and mining in Pakistan, including the terrorist-infiltrated Tribal Areas. Sources said that his projects had finished here in Pakistan and that his contract with his Virginia-based company, JE Austin Associates Incorporation, ended on August 15 and that he was planning to return his home in the US.

A California-based website states, “Warren had been managing an office in Pakistan for over four years, building a strategic reputation in the dairy, furniture, marble and leather sectors, which led to projects for the Pakistani government. He was granted an African Affairs Certificate from Columbia University and he is also a Fulbright Scholar. A former political science associate professor, Weinstein is an expert on international development, experienced in bilateral and multilateral organisations, as well as NGOs. Highly experienced in designing and implementing training programmes, and fluent in seven languages, Dr Warren Weinstein is well known within international banking and finance circles.”

According to media reports, Dr Warren Weinstein celebrated his 70th birthday last month at his US residence in Rockville, Maryland. Weinstein was linked with the global community through the Internet on the social media website ‘LinkedIn’, where a complete profile of him was available, along with some personal and professional data.

According to his profile, he is a Jewish American and his full name is Dr Warren Weinstein, which was confirmed by the US Embassy in Pakistan. A PhD in International Law and Economics and a Masters of International Relations, Warren is also fluent in at least seven languages, including Urdu, and has authored and edited around 13 books on African development since 1966. His wife’s name is Elaine who is living at Weinstein’s home in Rockville with other family members. According to his friends and colleagues, “He’s a short, funny man with a quick wit”. A local journalist who last saw Weinstein about a year ago said he could speak a fair amount of Urdu and was a laid-back guy not too worried about security issues.

Weinstein has lived in Pakistan for seven years and maintains a principal residence in Islamabad, but also has a home in Lahore where he was living alone. Warren Weinstein was living in a rental residence in Model Town. His double-storey house has two gates and walls that are about 1.8 metres high. The street on which his house is situated contains private security checkpoints, which are usually unmanned during the day. At night, watchmen hired by neighbours are on duty from dusk till dawn. There are around five security cameras installed in his house, but they have been inactive for a year. He was kidnapped by unidentified armed men late on last Saturday. Police have taken his security guards and a driver into custody for questioning, but no clue has been found as to the identity of his captors and the motive behind his kidnapping.

He had eight servants in his Lahore residence, including five guards from a Defence-based security company who were retired commandos of the army’s Special Services Group and a driver, a cook and a housekeeper who was responsible for maintenance of the house and ironing his cloths. One of his security guards named Muhammad Aurangzeb from Sargodha was court-martialled from the army. The second guard, Muhammad Abbas, belonged to Chichawatni, the third, Muhammad Sarwar was from Sheikhupura, while the fourth guard, Fazal Elahi, was from Charsadda and ran away from his military service. Police sources further said that his company had requested local police to provide security to Warren Weinstein, but that he personally refused, saying that he did not want to stand out. About Weinstein’s driver, sources said that his name is Israr and he belonged to Swabi district of Khyber Pukhtunkhwa and had been working with JE Austin Associates for the last four years, while his cook was also from FATA.

The FBI is also investigating the case along with local police investigators. According to sources, investigators were informed by Weinstein’s employees that he never received any threat from any side in Pakistan as far as they knew.

It is worth mentioning that the security guards’ mobile phones, which the kidnappers snatched, remained active for around 45 minutes after the kidnapping and that the last connectivity was detected on the motorway. Kidnappers later switched off the phones. No one has yet claimed responsibility for the kidnapping. The police, with the help of the guards and the driver, have developed sketches of the suspects, who were wearing shirts and trousers and were speaking Urdu. Sources said that a laptop, cellphones and other items found in the victim’s room were being thoroughly examined.

Panetta: ‘No Choice’ in US Relations with Pakistan

By David Gollust for Voice of America

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said Tuesday that the United States has no choice but to maintain close relations with Pakistan, despite government links with Islamic militants including the Haqqani network. The State Department, meanwhile, put sanctions on another Haqqani network commander.

Panetta, who took over as defense secretary in June after two years of heading the CIA, declined comment on news reports that Pakistan allowed China to inspect the wreckage of an advanced U.S. helicopter lost in the raid that killed Osama bin Laden.

But at a public forum with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at Washington’s National Defense University, the defense chief was unusually candid about U.S. problem issues with Pakistan.

Panetta said Pakistan has “relationships” with the Haqqani network – militants based in western Pakistan who conduct cross-border attacks on U.S. forces in Afghanistan, and with Lashkar-e-Taiba militants who have attacked India.

Both groups are listed by the United States as terrorist organizations. Despite complaints that Pakistan has withheld visas for U.S. citizens being posted there, Panetta said the relationship remains essential.

“There is no choice but to maintain a relationship with Pakistan,” said Panetta. “Why? Because we are fighting a war there. We are fighting al-Qaida there. And they do give us some cooperation in that effort. Because they do represent an important force in that region. Because they do happen to be a nuclear power that has nuclear weapons, and we have to be concerned about what happens with those nuclear weapons. So for all of those reasons, we’ve got to maintain a relationship with Pakistan.”

Secretary of State Clinton said the Obama administration considers relations with Pakistan to be of “paramount importance.”

She said there have been “challenges” in bilateral ties for decades with valid complaints on both sides, and that she credits the Islamabad government with lately recognizing its shared interest with Washington in confronting terrorism.

“I was very pleased when the Pakistanis moved into [the] Swat [Valley] and cleaned out a lot of what had become a kind of Pakistani Taliban stronghold,” said Clinton. “And then they began to take some troops off their border with India, to put more resources into the fight against the Pakistani Taliban. Now, as Leon [Panetta] says, we have some other targets that we discuss with them – the Haqqanis, for example. And yet it’s been a relatively short period of time, two-and-a-half years, when they have begun to reorient themselves militarily against what is, in our view, an internal threat to them.”

The State Department on Tuesday designated a key Haqqani network commander – Mullah Sangeen Zadran – a terrorist under a 2001 White House executive order, freezing any U.S. assets he has and barring Americans from business dealings with him.

At the same time, Sangeen was designated a terrorist by the U.N. sanctions committee, which will subject him to a global travel ban, an asset freeze and an arms embargo.

A State Department statement said Sangeen, is a “shadow governor” of Afghanistan’s southeast Paktika province and a senior lieutenant of network leader Sirajuddin Haqqani. It said Sangeen has coordinated the movement of hundreds of foreign fighters into that country and that he is linked to numerous bomb attacks and kidnappings.

Memorial for Noor Inayat Khan, SOE Agent and Daughter of Sufi teacher Hazrat Inayat Khan

As Reported by The Sufi Times

This past New Years Day would have marked the 96th birthday of Noor-un-Nisa Inayat Khan, an Indian muslim woman who was shot dead in a Nazi concentration camp in September 1944, after being the first female radio operator to infiltrate occupied France.

Her courage and self-sacrifice during World War II are to be honoured by a memorial which has been proposed to be raised in London’s Bloomsbury area next year. It will be the first war memorial in Britain either for a Muslim or an Asian woman.

The project has the support of 34 Members of Parliament and a number of prominent British Asians, including human rights activist Shami Chakrabarti and film director Gurinder Chadha, OBE. Permission has been granted by London University and the local authority to build a sculpture in Gordon Square. A sculptor has already been commissioned and the organisers now need to raise £60,000 to complete the project, of which about £25,000 has already been raised.

Noor Inayat Khan was the daughter of acclaimed Sufi teacher and musician, Hazrat Inayat Khan (1882 – 1927), who was one of the first people to bring Sufi teachings to the modern Western world. He established the “Sufi Order in the West”, which survives in various forms to this day and has followers around the world.

Hazrat Inayat Khan’s great-grandfather was Tipu Sultan, a king of Mysore who ruled during the time of the East India compay and who had died in battle against the Duke of Wellington in 1799. Hazrat Inayat Khan had been initiated into the Suhrawardiyya, Qadiriyya and Naqshbandi tariqas, but his primary initiation was from Shaykh Muhammed Abu Hashim Madani into the Nizamiya branch of the Chishti order (named after Shaykh Nizamuddin Auliya, died 1325).

Being an accomplished musician, Hazrat Inayat Khan went to America to tour with a group of musicians, playing mainly traditional court music on his veena and singing. During this time, he attracted a number of students to Sufism and met his wife, Ora Meena Ray Baker, an American from New Mexico who was of English-Irish-Scottish descent. They had their first child, Noor, in Moscow (1914), where Inayat Khan had gone to perform. Three more children were to follow: Vilayat (1916), Hidayat (1917) and Khair-un-Nisa (1919).

When Noor was four years old the family moved to Paris. Noor grew up in an environment steeped in Sufi teachings. Her father established a Sufi centre and regularly held Sufi meditation meetings with a growing number of students, lectured widely and authored a number of books.

Noor went on to study at the Sorbonne, and in her mid-20’s became an author of children’s stories. At the outbreak of war Noor’s family returned to her motherland and they moved into rooms in Bloomsbury Square in London. The site of the memorial which is to built in her name is, therefore, very appropriate.

Both Noor and her brother Vilayat decided they would do something to help the Allied Forces in their efforts against the Nazi threat. Vilayat joined the RAF (Royal Air Force) and trained as a pilot, whilst Noor joined the WAAF (Women’s Auxiliary Air Force). Because of her fluent French, she was given a position in the new Special Operations Executive (SOE) of the British Secret Service. The SOE was desperately looking for radio operators who could be positioned in enemy territory to send back intelligence by wireless.

Her recruiters were not at first convinced of her suitability for the role. One of them noted, “Not overburdened with brains but has worked hard and shown keenness, apart from some dislike of [the] security side of the course. She has an unstable and temperamental personality and it is very doubtful whether she is really suited to work in the field.”

But in June 1943, she became the first female SOE agent to be parachuted into enemy occupied territory in France. According to Sir Colin Gubbins, head of the SOE, she had “occupied the principal and most dangerous post in France”. As a radio operator she was on the front line of intelligence operations, a dangerous role not for the faint-hearted. She was once stopped by the Gestapo whilst cycling with her radio equipment, but managed to convince them that it was a cinema projector.

However, it eventually transpired that the French resistance group she had been sent to help had already been infiltrated by Nazi agents and within weeks of her arrival hundreds of operatives had been arrested and shot.

Noor turned down the opportunity to return to Britain, choosing to remain behind as the SOE’s only radio contact in or near Paris. She was given a life-expectancy of three weeks, but survived for three months.

But then she was betrayed by Renée Garry, the sister of one of her French Resistance colleagues. The reason for this betrayal is not clear. Some reports say Garry was jealous of Noor’s role as an SOE agent, others say she was jealous of her beauty. In any case, she was seized by the German Gestapo and taken to a concentration camp in Pflozheim. Here she was routinely tortured for weeks, but refused to give up any information to her interrogators.

On 11 September 1944, Noor, together with three other female SOE colleagues, were taken by cars to the concentration camp in Dachau, arriving in the dark. During the night, they were tortured again. Early on the morning of September 12, they were marched out to the dog kennels, forced to kneel two by two and each was shot in the back of the head. Their bodies were incinerated in Dachau’s infamous ovens. Her last words before she died were ‘liberte’.

Shrabani Basu is Noor Inayat Khan’s biographer and founder of the Noor Inayat Khan Memorial Trust. She spent eight years researching Noor’s life from war archives and family records, and has more recently been involved in the planning of the new memorial. Basu remarked, “I feel it is very important that what she did should not be allowed to fade from memory, particularly living in the times that we do. Here was a young Muslim woman who gave her life for this country and for the fight against those who wanted to destroy the Jewish race. She was an icon for the bond that exists between Britain and India but also between people who fought for what they believed to be right.”

Of the SOE’s 55 female agents, 13 died in action or at the hands of the Nazis. One of those killed (Violette Szabo) and one who survived (Odette Hallowes) have had popular movies made about their lives.

The initial unfavourable assessment made by Noor’s recruiters was in stark contrast to the note that her commander and head the SOE’s French section, Maurice Buckmaster, later made of her: “A most brave and touchingly keen girl. She was determined to do her bit to hit the Germans and, poor girl, she has.”

In France, Noor is already widely recognized as a war hero. There are two memorials for her, and a ceremony is held each year.

In 1975, a commemoration plaque was installed at the Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial Site, by the State of Massachusetts. It displays Noor’s name and the names of the three others who were executed with her on September 12th 1944.

To this day, nothing has been built in Britain to commemorate the life of this Indian Sufi Muslim woman who courageously sacrificed her life for freedom and the British contribution to the war against Fascism. It is hoped that the proposed memorial will be built to redress this oversight.

We Are Not All CIA Agents

By Michael Kugelman for The Express Tribune

Wondering about America’s latest reason for being unhappy with Pakistan? Look no further than the case of aid worker Warren Weinstein, the US citizen recently abducted from his residence in Lahore. I am not suggesting that Americans resent the fact that Pakistanis kidnapped Weinstein. Many of us (though by no means all of us) understand that abductions of Americans in Pakistan are very rare and realise that those Pakistanis who relish the thought of kidnapping Americans constitute a small percentage of the population.

What I am suggesting is that Americans are upset with what Pakistanis are saying about Weinstein. It is striking how quickly some Pakistanis have proclaimed that Weinstein is a CIA agent (and to be fair, a number of Americans are making the same assumption). An American in Pakistan doing aid work in the tribal areas? Wearing the native dress? And spending so much time in the country? Clearly the hallmark traits of a spy, they conclude. Never mind his advanced age (how many near-septuagenarian spooks are prowling around Pakistan?), or the fact that he was living quite conspicuously in a large home in an affluent area of Lahore. Also striking is who is making these accusations. One expects such views from the likes of Shireen Mazari, who famously had an altercation with a western-looking man in a restaurant when he inadvertently bumped into her chair, referring to him as a “bloody CIA agent”. Or from those impressionable masses who fall prey to the anti-American narratives propagated by school textbooks, mullahs and the media.

However, it is quite another matter to see readers of this newspaper — who, by virtue of their English-language aptitude and willingness to read The Express Tribune, are not narrow-minded ideologues — posting good-riddance comments about Weinstein and his presumed CIA bonafides.
Yes, Americans in Pakistan have been and are connected to security contractor firms and intelligence agencies. Yes, many of the alleged conspiracy theories about CIA agents crawling around the country have been proven true; Washington has sometimes emerged with egg on its face after prevaricating about the intelligence affiliations of its citizens stationed in Pakistan.

And, yes, ‘development work’ can be code for spy craft. Nonetheless, to reflexively assume that any American in the country is tied to the CIA is not only unfair, but also insulting — because it sweepingly dismisses the highly beneficial work done by many Americans in the country, such as, presumably, Weinstein himself. Just as there are Pakistanis who admire America (albeit not necessarily its foreign policies), there are Americans — with and without government affiliations — who hold Pakistan in high esteem and who dedicate their lives to making positive contributions there. Some may single out school-building superstar Greg Mortenson; I would cite the likes of the somewhat lesser-known (and therefore more typical) case of Todd Shea — a musician by training who, moved by televised images of suffering in Kashmir after the 2005 earthquake, travelled to Pakistan to provide relief aid. Shea has been there ever since; he now runs a hospital in a remote part of Kashmir.

There are other Todd Sheas in Pakistan. They may not want their stories publicised, but they are there, serving as healthcare trainers, conducting research on drone strikes’ impacts on civilians and helping promote women’s rights. Some work for NGOs, others represent non-intelligence agencies of the US government and others still — perhaps the most honourable of them all — act as volunteers and represent only themselves.

Pakistanis often lament, and rightly so, how so many of their most humanitarian and peace-loving citizens — from Abdul Sattar Edhi to Shehzad Roy — are relative unknowns in the US. Americans are equally justified for being indignant about the lack of recognition accorded to the selfless work of their countrymen in Pakistan — work that has little to do with cloaks and daggers and much more to do with benevolence and social upliftment.

U.S. Says Pakistan Let China See Copter

By Mark Mazzetti for The Seattle Times

In the days after the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, Pakistan’s intelligence service probably allowed Chinese military engineers to examine the wreckage of a stealth American helicopter that crashed during the May operation, according to U.S. officials and others familiar with the classified assessments.

Such cooperation with China would be provocative, providing further evidence of the depths of Pakistan’s anger over the bin Laden raid, which was carried out without Pakistan’s approval.

U.S. spy agencies have concluded it is likely that Chinese engineers took detailed photographs of the severed tail of the Black Hawk helicopter equipped with classified technology designed to elude radar, the officials said.

The members of the Navy SEALs team who conducted the raid had tried to destroy the helicopter after it crashed at bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, but the tail section remained largely intact.

U.S. officials cautioned they did not yet have definitive proof the Chinese were allowed to visit Abbottabad. They said Pakistani officials had denied they showed the technology to other foreign governments.

One person with knowledge of the intelligence assessments said the U.S. case was based mostly on intercepted conversations in which Pakistani officials discussed inviting the Chinese to the crash site.

He characterized intelligence officials as being “certain” that Chinese engineers were able to photograph the helicopter and even walk away with samples of the wreckage. The tail has been shipped back to the U.S., according to American officials.

The U.S. assessments were disclosed Sunday by The Financial Times. The newspaper cited Pakistani officials who denied the accusations.

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