Myth of South Waziristan Broken: Gen. Kayani


ISLAMABAD: Sitting under a portrait of Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah, with a huge blazing red calligraphy on his left and an impressive piece of framed Chinese embroidery on his right, recalling the deaths at the Parade Lane of four young sons of his officers who were Hufaz-e-Quran, COAS General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani emerged as the first Army chief to resort to speak to the Americans and their Western allies in words and images that they cannot fail to understand.

One of the last few senior generals to have undertaken military training in the US until the Pressler Amendment was slapped on Pakistan, the US and its allies are now not only listening but also understanding as the COAS uses the symbols of American legendary golfer Tiger Woods on his power point display and comparing full bases at a baseball game to some of the war situations on the Pak-Afghan border.

In a meeting at the GHQ, with analysts and retired senior generals, some under whose command he had served, the COAS opened up his mind and heart to dwell on the dangers facing Pakistan militarily, and the region, and ways and means that the military leadership thinks are the solutions to ensure that at the end of the war, Pakistan does not find itself in the ‘wrong corner of the room’. The interaction continued for nearly three hours.

Speaking on and off therecord, the COAS shared with the participants the presentation that he had made at Nato headquarters in Brussels, where generals from 45 countries heard him, and which many Western military analysts told The News, was a “make and break” presentation, which got the Western military leadership not only ‘educated’, but confess amongst themselves “all” that they were doing “wrong” inside Afghanistan.

One of the direct results of this Brussels presentation, which even the Foreign Office agrees, resulted in the final push which made India coming reluctantly to the negotiating table. The COAS had convinced Nato and others why it was important for him to have his eastern border peaceful.

The proudest moment for any Pakistani was to hear and readily believe that the ‘myth’ of South Waziristan had been broken and the military operations before that in Swat and Malakand in the words of the Army chief, “We did it with no help from the United States. Daily I would receive calls if we needed any help and we replied we needed nothing”.

He was very clear about what was best for Pakistan in these days of turmoil. “Partnership (with the US) does not mean you desire and I start doing it,” said the COAS. He said with the US military aid still in the pipeline, “In many cases I have eaten into my reserves.” While acknowledging he said there has to be a balance for a military budget and one for development as well.

The fear was, said Kayani, even if his military had accepted 5%, it would have been blown up to 50%. The COAS earlier had met General Stanley A McChrystal, Commander International Security Assistance Force, Afghanistan, at a time when everyone in the region was still waiting for the US to explain in detail the policies that will take them up to the time that they are ready to leave the region.

“I told McChrystal that the acid test of a policy is that options should increase,” he said, adding that he believed that the only way to measure success inside Afghanistan was to gauge the public support and not the number of people you kill.

“Today, this is McCrystal’s policy inside Afghanistan, where they talk of a political process and reconciliation. Finally, there is realisation today,” added the chief. Looking at the US Afghan strategy, Kayani says he has clearly told the US that raising an Afghan Army in the stipulated time is not possible, and weaning away of the Taliban will only happen if the US is seen willing inside Afghanistan.

“This has not happened and the perception has not been formed. Only when you win over 70%, you are really winning,” he added. He also does not shy away from telling his US visitors that the bulk of Nato supplies are still going through Pakistan and they will continue to do so, and threats of looking for alternative routes do not impress him.

South Waziristan “We had a history of mismanaged operations in South Waziristan and there was a myth that no-one has ever come here and controlled the area. If we had turned back, we would have destroyed the credibility of the military”.

The victory in South Waziristan, the chief said, was because of motivation of the troops, changed tactics of engaging the adversaries from the dangerous ridges of mountains instead of the customary land routes which also resulted in fewer casualties.

Swat operation The COAS said there was no example in history of what the Pakistan military accomplished in the Swat operation and which successfully changed the public opinion. It was the largest heliborne operation.

“So when we send foreign defence chiefs to Swat, we have a story to tell. When I accompanied Admiral Mike Mullen and showed him how we had done the operation, including showing him the gorges there, his response was, “I will send General McChrystal to see this”.

The last visitor was US National Security Advisor James Jones, who heard for himself from educated locals how unpopular the Americans were.

India-centric

Kayani says he did not mince his words when he told Nato that he was India-centric and there was logic behind this. There was no way he could relax on his eastern border to concentrate fully on the west.

“We have unresolved issues, a history of conflict and now the Cold Start doctrine. Help us resolve these issues. We want peaceful co-existence with India. India has the capability and intentions can change overnight,” Kayani had told his audience in Brussels.

Nato is also realising why it is important for Pakistan to help train the Afghan Army because Pakistan could strategically simply not tolerate an Afghan Army trained by the Indians and having an Indian mindset.

Pak-Nato ratio

It is not easy for any commander to count his dead when the killing fields are still alive. But Kayani told Nato how Pakistan in 2009, lost 2,273 soldiers with another 6,512 being wounded.

“Pakistan as one nation lost 2,273 soldiers while US/Nato in the same period lost 1,582. We have 10,000 troops on UN missions,” recalled the COAS. Pakistan has contributed 147,000 troops to its “silent surge” while 43 nations in Afghanistan have sent a mere 100,000.

Pakistan mans 82 posts at the Pak-Afghan border while the coalition and Afghan Army have only 112. “Pakistan’s operations have decreased cross border movements, there is control of areas, squeezing of spaces, and continuous flow of logistic flow,” pointed the COAS. For a man of “few words” when he was DG ISI, today Kayani is saying a lot more. All of which has to be heard loud and clear by the people of Pakistan.

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Turkish Foreign Minister: No Dialogue With Israel Until it Ends the Occupation and Stops Killings


By Mehmet Nedim Aslan | Middle East Monitor

Turkish Ambassador made to sit in a lower seat and Turkish flag removed in front of Israeli media.

Turkey’s Foreign Minister, Ahmet Davutoğlu, has made his strongest criticism yet of Israel and its policies. After talks with his British counterpart David Miliband at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London, the two ministers held a joint press conference during which Mr Davutoğlu answered questions about his country’s lukewarm relations with Israel. Asked whether Turkey’s criticism of Israel was attributed to a policy of “Islamisation”, Mr. Davutoğlu denied the existence of any such policy and said that Turkey had worked actively for regional peace; indeed, until 2008 Turkey had had very good relations with Israel, even to the point of bringing it to the same table with Syria. The war in Gaza a year ago changed this, said Mr. Davutoğlu. “By attacking Palestinians in Gaza, Israel ruined our peace efforts and we cannot tolerate this. Attacking children and women is unacceptable,” he added.

Davutoğlu emphasised that his country’s relations would not be normalised as long as Israel is occupying and attacking Palestine. “If Israel ends its occupation and unacceptable treatment of Palestinians, then we will be ready the next day for normalised and good relations,” he said. “Turkey’s foreign policy is based on equality both with its neighbouring countries and others. A Jewish kid is not superior to a Palestinian kid. Both should be treated as equal. This is our vision for the region.”

Later, Mr. Davutoğlu gave a speech at London University’s King’s College on the topic “Converging Interests of Turkey and the UK in an enlarged EU and beyond”. Answering questions from the audience afterwards the Foreign Minister was asked why Turkey has close relations with “extremists such as Iran and HAMAS”. Emphasising again his country’s commitment to regional and global peace, Mr. Davutoğlu pointed out that HAMAS had been elected by the popular vote and those in the West who lecture the rest of the world on democracy should respect the Palestinians’ choice. He added, “The Palestinian election was the most democratic and transparent election held in the region and the Palestinians elected HAMAS. There is no such thing as ‘moderates and extremists’. When you occupy a land and kill its people you leave them no choice but hopelessness. One cannot call a country moderate which kills Palestinian children and women every day.”

Mr. Davutoğlu also criticised the US former President George Bush’s Middle East policy that labelled Iran and Syria members of the ‘axis of evil’. “We don’t want a Cold War in our region. We don’t believe that the use of military force and a policy of isolating countries will bring peace. The only way to bring peace to the region and the world is to be inclusive, not exclusive, and this is what Turkey has been working on. That’s why Turkey has good relations both with HAMAS and Iran. Anything that happens on our doorstep affects us, so our vision is to minimise tension and bring countries together politically, socially and economically.”

There is a common belief in the Muslim world that US foreign policy is biased towards Israel thanks to the Israel-Jewish lobby. Ever since the foundation of the state of Israel on Palestinian land in 1948, all US administrations have been ardent in their support of Israel, both politically and economically. In a practical sense, therefore, there appears to be very solid evidence for such a belief; indeed, some would say that the influence exerted by the Israel-Jewish lobby and the resultant Israel-bias by successive US administrations is, quite simply, a fact.

The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy by American professors John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt makes it very clear, in an objective way, how the Israel-Jewish Lobby goes about its work in this respect. In Britain, a Channel 4 documentary film, Inside Britain’s Israel Lobby, showed how Britain has been kept on a short rein in terms of its relationship with Israel. The situation in the UK is not as serious as in the USA, but it was still shocking to see how some British politicians are bankrolled by the Israel lobby to support Israeli interests at the expense of the Palestinians. One of many important points raised in the programme was the very subtle ‘threat’ to the Guardian newspaper for its report on ‘Israeli crimes against Palestinians’.

Israel maintains a formidable “hasbara” (propaganda) campaign worldwide to develop good relations within the media so that empathic coverage of the conflict caused by the Israeli occupation of Palestine favours Israel and ignores, covers-up or seeks to justify Israeli crimes against Palestinians. The hasbara campaign to lobby politicians and the media does not exist only in the west. Surprisingly, the Israel lobby also operates in Muslim countries to such an extent that in some places it influences the policy-making process. One of those countries, without doubt, is Turkey. It is true that the AK Party in government has, unlike previous governments in Turkey, demonstrated its opposition to Israeli policies, cancelling a military exercise with Israel, for example, and PM Erdogan’s public condemnation of the assault on Gaza 12 months ago. This is countered, of course, by the fact that Turkey was the first country with a majority Muslim population to recognise Israel.

The unofficial but very strong Israel lobby in Turkey has always been a hot topic of discussion among Turkish politicians, intellectuals, media and ordinary people who follow political affairs. As in many other countries, when the subject of Israel is debated, the ultra-secular mainstream media in Turkey has condemned critics of the Zionist state as being biased against Jews or Israel, and try to downplay the severity of the Israeli occupation and killing of Palestinians. Conversely, when rockets are fired into southern Israel from Gaza, the news in the mainstream media focuses on the suffering of Israelis at the hands of Palestinians without mentioning the historical and political context that Palestinians are resisting Israel’s illegal occupation, as they are legally entitled to do.

On the first day of the Gaza attack last year, when Israel bombarded the police academy compound in Gaza, Hurriyet (which is similar to Egypt’s semi-official Al-Ahram newspaper in terms of its connection with the state’s ideology and is the most influential Turkish newspaper) commented: “After 200 rockets fired by Hamas into Israel, Israeli forces have fought back.” This gave a clear message to its readers that Israel was “forced” to resort to violence, but ignored the fact that a Hamas-Israel truce had been broken by Israel in November 2008, prompting a Hamas response, to which Israel’s murderous assault was the response.

When huge rallies were held in Turkey to protest against the deliberate targeting and killing of Palestinian civilians by Israel’s war machine, in Hurriyet and its sister newspaper Milliyet, Posta and Radikal there was little coverage. Hurriyet’s editor-in chief, Ertuğrul Özkök, once called ‘the most influential journalist’ in Turkey, wrote in his daily column that he feared these protests might result in arousing anti-Jewish sentiments.

Anyone who does not know Turkey well may find this surprising, even shocking, but it is a reality that the most influential media organs in Turkey are indifferent to the plight of the Palestinians but very enthusiastic about Israel. This enthusiasm for Israel among Turkey’s ultra-secular establishment is rooted in their campaign against Islam, which they see as an obstacle to the hegemony of the country’s founding Kemalist ideology. Israel is, in their eyes, a natural ally in the fight against their common enemy.

Because the foundation of modern Turkey was based on the removal of religion from public life – by coercion or ‘coerced consent’ if necessary – while anything connected with Islam was rejected as backward and an obstacle to the development of the state and society, this ultra-secular ideology used very subtle methods so that its indoctrination was not counter-productive. Hence, the word ‘Islam’ was not used in their campaign of secularisation. Instead, they used the terms Arabs, Sheikhs, Sherif Hussain, and Mullahs to indicate where the blame for what happened to the Ottoman Empire should be lodged; they overlooked the fact that the secular establishment was hostile to the Ottoman Empire too. Following the Gramscian concept of hegemony, in which the state, through building state-funded civil and bureaucratic institutions to control society, the Turkish establishment attacked, and continues to attack, religion using all of the apparatus at its disposal.

As Islam was suppressed by the establishment of modern Turkey, so was the ideology of “Turkishness” promoted by the state. The idea was that if people have the political nous to take pride in being a ‘Turk’ as a member of a superior race, then religion would disappear altogether. Looked at in the current context, it is interesting to note that some Jewish politicians have been among those who were promoting the new anti-Islam ideology. For example, Moez Cohen, a member of the Jewish community in the early years of modern Turkey, changed his name to a pre-Islamic Turkish name, Tekin Alp , was a leading member of the Turkish nationalist movement and once said “Down with Islam”.

In the 1990s the Turkish army generals backed a media campaign supporting Israel and Israeli interests. In 1996-97 Necmettin Erbakan’s government brought together eight Muslim countries to form the ‘D-8’ (Developing Countries) organisation aimed at tackling political, social and economic problems faced by Muslim nations. This alliance of Muslim countries was seen as a threat to Israel so the Turkish media started a campaign intended to provoke the generals by claiming that this move could take Turkey back to the ‘dark ages’ and Erbakan’s agenda was to impose shari’ah law. As a result of this campaign, Israel’s friends in the media succeeded in bringing the government to its knees.

After the 2002 general election in Turkey friends of Israel in the media and politics were cautious about the newly-formed AK Party government, adopting a “wait and see” policy. The AK Party took on a heavy agenda, from the EU reforms to the collapsed economy, so did not get involved immediately in the Palestine issue, with the result that the media seemed to be friendly towards the government. In turn, as its self-confidence grew, the government found its voice against Israeli attacks on Palestinians. The reaction of Dogan Media – owning newspapers, including its flagship Hurriyet, TV channels, weekly and monthly magazines and about 50% of the whole media sector in Turkey – was a campaign claiming that opposition to Israel would damage Turkey’s goal of joining the European Union. Some commentators went further, saying that it was not Turkey’s business to get involved in the Israel-Palestine conflict. Those who were against such Turkish involvement were, at the same time, and for the sake of Israel, upset at the Turkish government’s decision not to allow on its soil US troops involved in the occupation of Iraq.

An ‘official partnership’ between Israel and Turkey’s Dogan Media was uncovered when tax investigators discovered this year that Dogan had evaded taxation on its share sales to German media company Axel Springer AG in 2006. This prompted journalists working for other companies to investigate further the details of Dogan’s sales to its German partner. Yener Donmez, working for Vakit newspaper, found that Axel Springer’s employees must adhere to five main principles, one of which is “support for the vital rights of the State of Israel”; the journalist wrote that since Dogan was Axel Springer’s partner, the same principle would require Dogan’s journalists not to report anything against Israel. The newspaper also claimed that the Israeli state had shares in Axel Springer, making Dogan and Israel partners.

Releasing a statement about its partnership with Axel Springer and the claims that Israel is immune from criticism across its media output, Dogan did not deny its partner’s principle of supporting Israel, but said “Axel is a German company and even if the claims in Vakit were true, this would not affect their publishing policy.”

Today, whether Dogan Media is directly linked to Israel or not, it still owns almost 50% of the Turkish media sector and has not withdrawn its subtle support for Israel. However, its voice is not as powerful as it was a few years ago and may disappear altogether in the light of the tax evasion charges. Be under no illusions, though, for ‘the lobby’ will plan new strategies and find new friends, such is its influence.

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The Sinking Boat of India


By Ibne Qasim

There was yet another daring assault in the heart of Srinagar Lal chowk by two fidayeen armed with Ak-47’s and grenades. They were able to take stronghold in a Punjab hotel building and took on the security forces for more than 30 hours. According to the local sources, two Mujahideen and dozens of soldier including a major and a subeydar were killed and the gun battle ended with the Indian forces burning down the hotel building. This was perhaps because they were unable to apprehend the Mujahideen. The responsibility for the attack was claimed by Jamiat ul Mujahideen, but the Indian forces believe that this attack has the hallmarks of Lashkar e Taiba, an outfit that they also blame for the Mumbai attacks. This attack was highly symbolic in nature and was demonstrative of the fear that the Indian Army has of LET fighters who they believe are well equipped, daring , and even better trained than the most prestigious BLACK CAT and MARCOS of Indian army. An Indian army officer told this writer on condition of anonymity that “the LET has a habit of attacking Indian military installations and camps and they often do not take responsibility for it. Instead they use a different name to confuse the Intelligence agencies and continue with their work.” It has also been reported that there is growing sympathy for them among the people of Kashmir mainly because they never target or attack civilians, their enemy is the Indian military which is involved in heinous acts of state-terrorism in the Indian Occupied Kashmir.

The LET have on many occasions helped the Kashmiri people in supporting their economy that has been sabotaged by the Indian government with the help of Hindu extremists. One such example is the shrine board issue.

It is evident that the Indian military is unable to tackle these situations. In Kashmir alone, they have failed to handle a handful of militants for days and weeks. Another example of this is the fight that took place in Kupwara jungle where the Indian army fought with thousands of troops for nine straight days and six of these militants were able to escape the siege after showing tremendous heart in dense jungle. This single attack shows the capability of guerrillas to hit anywhere anytime. If the Indian intelligence agencies dared to cause havoc on Pakistani soil they should expect the taste of their own medicine. It has long been a dream of the Chankia-driven ideology of the Indian establishment and military to wipe out the few hundred militants from the valley of Kashmir but this struggle seems far from over as the resilient Kashmiri freedom fighters continue to fight the battle for their freedom from Indian occupation. India has always mistaken the strategic silence of militants for their weakness and any attempt to neutralize the guerrillas has failed time and time again. Earlier this week Chidambaram said “Every hour, every day and every month, India’s capacity to meet the challenges to internal security is growing. We are stronger today than we were a year ago, and we will be stronger a year from now than we are today.” Indian hopes for a stable and secure India have long been dashed. The ideology of hatred and barbarism that India has let loose on her neighbours and on the weak and poor within her own borders has ensured that the insurgencies and separatist movements in India will remain a constant threat to its existence until and unless the oppressive policies are abandoned and due rights of the people are given to them.

This particular attack in Punjab is a message for Deepak Kapoor from the Kashmiri fighters, that instead of dreaming about taking on Pakistan and China, the Indians should really be worrying about dealing with the valiant sons and daughters of Kashmir for they will not be oppressed for much longer. The time is very near, Insha’Allah, when the fragrant and fertile valley of Kashmir will once again become a haven for its peace and freedom loving inhabitants. This is what every Kashmiri and Pakistani believes. The Kashmiri freedom movement is far from over, it is alive and Kashmiri Mujahideen are a force to be reckoned with. No matter how much they deny it publicly, this fact is well understood by Indian naitas in Lok Sabha and the generals in Delhi HQ.

The Kashmiri freedom movement must be given unconditional support by the Pakistani government in order to heal the Indian war fever that seems to be taking India to her imminent death, and also to provide a ray of hope and the prospect of a new and respectable way of life for all deprived and hostage communities and people living in India.

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India doesn’t have a common border with Afghanistan: US


– Times of India

WASHINGTON: Contrary to India’s position that it has a legitimate boundary with Afghanistan, a top US official has said both the countries do not share a common border.

“If you look at the map, Afghanistan has a lot of neighbours. I mean, bordering neighbours. You mentioned India. India doesn’t have a common border with Afghanistan. But I’m talking about just the countries that have direct borders next to them,” said Richard Holbrooke, Special US Representative for Pakistan and Afghanistan.

“Every one of the neighbours (of Afghanistan) has a role to play here in the stabilisation and demilitarisation, ultimately, of Afghanistan. And when I say every one, I mean every one of the neighbours,” Holbrooke said.

Holbrooke’s statement is contrary to India’s position that the entire State of Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of the country; which has its physical boundary with Afghanistan.

The part of the Kashmir which shares boundary with Afghanistan is now a part of Pakistan, other portion is Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK) which has been illegally occupied by India for nearly 60 years.

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India’s challenge


Indian Army chief General Deepak Kapoor inspects the guard of honour during the Army Day parade in New Delhi. –Reuters Photo/B Mathur

The statement by Indian army chief Gen Deepak Kapoor regarding his army’s capacity to fight a two-front war upset a lot of people in Pakistan. Both Pakistan’s army chief and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee rebutted such superfluous claims.

Pakistan’s military high command did not mince its words in dissuading its Indian counterparts from giving any thought to ‘military adventurism’, and highlighted the severe implications of this and of the Pakistan military’s capacity to respond.

Such exchanges represent the heightened tension between the two traditional rivals. For many political pundits the year 2010 does not bode well for bilateral ties. The tide of peace and amity has been reversed even though people thought that the peace process, started during Musharraf’s reign, was ‘irreversible’. At that time, one of the major reasons for hope on both sides was that a possible deal could be negotiated between an elected government in India and a military dictator in Pakistan, who, it was assumed, could carry his institution along in reaching out to New Delhi. Now things are back to square one with hawks on both sides intensifying tensions.

Kapoor’s statement and its response from Rawalpindi is not the last time that such an exchange will take place. Needless to say, such exchanges do not bode well for peace in the region.

The Indian army chief had spoken of a capability that India desires but does not possess at the moment. Taking on two neighbours militarily and ensuring a ceasefire on its conditions is New Delhi’s dream. But it does not have the capacity to translate this into reality. In fact, India does not even have the capability to successfully try out ‘cold start’, its strategy to allow the Indian military to strike specific targets inside Pakistan and pull back without incurring a high cost. The basic assumption is that if India targets terrorist training camps or headquarters in Pakistan and pulls out without holding Pakistan’s territory or annihilating its military, Rawalpindi will have no excuse to deploy nuclear weapons.

Theoretically, such an adventure is possible because it is based on another calculation that the Indian army will not waste time in regrouping but would already be regrouped to carry out a strike. Official sources believe that activating ‘cold start’ could mean Pakistan deploying nuclear weapons at forward positions or keeping them ready for use. Such a situation would result in India deploying its arsenal as well, making the atmosphere highly charged.

Thus far, the Indian strategy is not in place. It requires complete inter-services harmony and would essentially be a joint services operation which could only succeed if well simulated. So far, there is no indication that India has this capacity. There are internal problems in establishing a new force structure. The establishment of this would indicate that headway is being made in bringing necessary changes to the organisational structure.

So, should Pakistan just laugh off Kapoor’s statement? It would be wiser to understand the nuances of the statement which are more important than the actual content of what he said. It basically indicates the shifting of plates in terms of civil-military relations in India. This is not to suggest that the Indian military is getting ready for an internal coup or that it could take over politics or even wage a war on its own.

However, Kapoor’s statement is one of the many symbols of the growing significance of India’s military in the country’s security and foreign policy paradigm, particularly as far as Pakistan, China and the US are concerned. It is no longer the military of Nehru’s days that sat silently waiting for orders from Delhi as it saw the Chinese army creeping into areas India considered part of its territory.

The modern-day Indian military has access to the media and has managed to build a partnership with it to get its message across when it is in need of public pressure on the political government regarding a particular issue or policy. Furthermore, the military’s overall significance in military security decision-making has increased for a number of reasons.

First, the current lot of Indian politicians is comparatively less skilled to deal with security issues than their predecessors and so tend to seek advice from military officers on security issues. Second, given India’s desire to become a global player and its acquisition of modern technology to achieve this objective, the significance of the armed forces has increased. Third, India’s security partnership with the US has bolstered the Indian military’s significance. Finally, (as in Pakistan) senior commanders who retire from the service find jobs in think tanks. This has allowed them to influence the national security discourse in the country.

For instance, the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry recently published a report on national security and terrorism proposing extreme measures. Thus, senior retired military officers and hawkish civilian experts drive the thinking of businessmen and traders who are key to peace in the region. This is indeed unfortunate and depicts a reduced capacity of the civilian sector in India to take on or oppose the military’s perspective.

From Pakistan’s perspective the important thing is that Indian politicians might find it difficult to go against their military’s opinion in case there is a crisis in the future. Not to forget the fact that both the Indian and Pakistani military have changed qualitatively as far as their class structure goes.

Greater indigenisation of the officer cadre and troops has meant larger numbers from the lower, lower middle and middle classes. One of the distinguishing features of these classes is their sympathy for socio-cultural traditions that have a significant religious flavor. Consequently, the men in uniform might view matters of war and peace differently.

Such factors as mentioned above are difficult to quantify but have a greater bearing on military planning and decision-making than what one would imagine. Under the circumstances, any misadventure or misperception could cost heavily.

These are two neighbors who do not know or understand each other and this makes an accidental conflict or some other dangerous miscalculation possible. Perhaps it is time that the two rivals began to understand each other.

The writer is an independent strategic and political analyst.
ayesha.ibd@gmail.com

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Khan destroys Salita in battle of faiths


(CNN) — Pakistani British boxer Amir Khan has retained his WBA light-welterweight title after winning the much-hyped “battle of the faiths” by stopping challenger Dmitriy Salita in the first round on Saturday night.

Khan, a devout Pakistani and Muslim, knocked down his Jewish opponent three times before the referee stopped after just one minute and 16 seconds.

Salita, an American citizen who was born in Ukraine and is nicknamed “Star of David”, was unable to follow up his bold claims made in the build-up to the fight, which took place in Newcastle in the north-east of England.

The 22-year-old Khan was successful in his first defense of the belt that he won in defeating Andreas Kotelnik in July.

He is trained by American Freddie Roach, who also guides Filipino star Manny Pacquiao, considered by many to be the best pound-for-pound boxer in the world.

“It was very explosive. The fight was just what we asked for, what Freddie asked me to do. We had too much power for this guy,” a delighted Khan told reporters after the fight.

“I’m a growing young man and developing as a man. Freddie said to take it easy, pick the right shots and you’ll take this guy out and we did.

“Freddie is a great trainer, he’s like a father figure to me and to have him in my corner means a lot. Everyone knows I’m a hard-working fighter and if you put the hard work in you’re going to get the benefits.

“After the first shot I could see his legs buckling and I just had to take my time. I knew he was going.”

Roach has helped the Olympic silver medal winner to rebuild his career after a humiliating defeat by unknown Colombian Breidis Prescott last year.

“It was a blessing in disguise what happened against Prescott, I got beat and came back stronger,” Khan said.

Roach was equally impressed with his young charge.

“I would give him an A+. I said if you hurt him, finish him. We’ve been working on that power and the fight was really over after that first punch,” he said.

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An Open Letter To The Pakistani Media – How far will you go?


Dr. Mahru Khalid

As I sit in my room writing this, I can hear Indian music playing on the television outside. I know that it is a Pakistani channel,and I can hear snatches of people singing praises of how wonderful Indian music and artists are. It has been going on for the last2 hours and may as well go on for another 2. This is what I have come to expect from my country’s media.

I refuse to go outside and watch that. Because, you see, I’m more intrigued by a news channel telling us how truckloads of Indian ammunition are being discovered by the Pak army in South Waziristan, by someone revealing how the Takfiri TTP are being financed by Indo-American (and other foreign) forces, and how names like Blackwater, Xe, DynaCorp., are raising their ugly heads andinfiltrating into the Pakistani society. Rather than watching Indian movies, I’m more entertained when I go on the internet and readstories of how Mumbai investigator Mr. Hemant Karkare was silenced forever because he could have spilled the beans that Mumbai was an inside job, how the militants who carried out that attack had stayed at a guest house called Nariman House for several days before the attack, and where they were provided food, ammunition, and arms in full knowledge of the Mumbai police, how the 40,000strong Mumbai police was deliberately kept away from the scene of the shooting, as the terrorists went about their merry way killingpeople. All this from the pen of a respected Indian writer, Mr. Amaresh Mishra, for me, beats the most smoothly done Indian movieanyday!

I haven’t forgotten 26/11, and its aftermath, when your Indian counterparts didn’t bother to think rationally for a second, and pointed the finger squarely at us, how they threatened people like Adnan Sami Khan to leave or suffer the consequences, how Pakistani contestants were ejected from TV shows. I haven’t forgotten how united the Indian media and people were in their hate, or how vocal the media was with its hate-filled remarks, which were sometimes shocking in their intensity, and all on the basis of mere suspicion. And then, with much regret, I haven’t forgotten the insensitive way you responded to this outburst. Some of you even went as faras to claim that Ajmal Qasab is indeed a Pakistani citizen from Faridkot, a claim that has now been refuted by Qasab himself.

And now, a year later, I see my own country bleeding like it has never bled before. I remember the horror of Marriott, the shock of Lahore’s attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team, the valour of the Shaheeds of Swat and Waziristan. This nation will never forget the innocent Shaheeds of GHQ, Peshawar, Parade Lane, Moon Market, and so many other places. Our innocent brothers, sisters, sons, daughters were this nation’s wealth, they were a part of its future, and a legacy of its past. We have lost some of our gems, but we will never lose the will to avenge each and every drop of innocent blood.

Now I ask you, Pakistani media, do you not see who is behind all this? Don’t the daily deaths mean anything to you? Do you not seethe huge gaping wound? I want to ask you, how far will you go in this Indian admiration of yours? I see morning shows competing with each other in getting the biggest Indian star on the show. I change the channel and I see a senseless but box-office rich Indian movie being shown. I go further and I see barely clad women dancing in a spot advertising the latest Indian awards. Can you not see anything beyond the mindlessness of Indian entertainment?

Can you see that they are out to destroy us from within, to eat our society up like termites eat wood? I can almost imagine them wringing their hands with contentment at our political and moral degradation, at how they maneuvered things until we were deprived of hosting any cricketing event on our soil. Why don’t you admire the smooth precision with which they accomplished these ugly goals?

Your silence is deafening, your silence on this geo-political war being waged on Pakistan, your silence when Ajmal Qasab said he’s just an Indian being directed in the greatest Indian drama ever played, your silence on the menacing involvement of Indian intelligence agencies in supporting terrorism in Pakistan. Your silence is truly deafening. Instead, you seem smitten by the very forces who want to see Pakistan on its knees.

Will you still go on dancing to their tunes? Will you still go on leading the people of this nation further into fools’ paradise? I just wonder, how far will you go?

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