West must rise to defend Balochistan, I told London’s Rebel Media

In an interview with UK-based Balochistan freedom supporter Tommy Robinson of the Rebel Media I tell him about the dangers London and the United Kingdom are facing at the hands of Pakistan origin Islamic radicals.

It is crazy that ISI moles are now sitting in the UK parliament, serving Pakistan rather than British interests.

In the past the UK did lot of harm to people of color in her former colonies but this does not mean Britons should become sitting ducks at the hands of Islamic radicals like Anjem Chaudhry, whom is thankfully serving jail time. “Sons must not pay for the sins of their fathers,” I said.

The interview took place at the Broken Chair in Geneva. I had gone to Geneva for a week and had worked pro bono for the Balochistan cause. If you like the interview kindly  click the donate button and donate generously.

#ChappalChorPakistan: Activists to collect worn out shoes as gift to Pakistan embassies

Indian Americans, along with Afghan Americans and Baloch Americans in the US, in the Washington DC area have launched a novel campaign to avenge humiliation of the mom and wife of Indian naval officer Kulbushan Jadhav, who was sentenced to death by a Pakistan military court in spring.

Avanti Jadhav and Cheetankul Jadhav, wife of condemned India spy Kulbushan Jadhav, were made to remove their “mangal sutra”, bangles, and bindi before they could meet Jadhav on Christmas day, India’s External Affairs Ministry complained. Pakistan’s spy service ISI also stole Cheetankul’s shoes, sent it for forensic exams and now say they have found a metal object in one of them.

Soumya Sundar Chowdhury, civil engineer in the Washington DC area who is from Calcutta, West Bengal and supports the freedom of Balochistan, has launched the campaign.

“As you people all know, Kulbhushan Jadhav’s family has been humiliated by Pakistan for no no fault of their own. They took away their shoes and never returned them,” said Chowdhury. “So this New Year don’t throw away your old shoes instead get together and donate it to your nearby Pakistan embassy through Hand Delivery or Mail.”

Chowdhury made an appeal keep a note in the box of the shoes saying it is from Kulbhushan Jadhav’s extended family. “If possible record the whole event and upload it in your social media. Invite others in this goodwill gesture.”

As Pakistan media mostly sides with the country’s military, the Jadhav ladies were not only insulted by Pakistan’s deep state but also harassed by the journalists.

Aapke patidev ne hazaron begunah Pakistaniyo ke khoon se Holi kheli ispar kya kahengi? (your husband killed thousands of innocent Pakistanis, what do you have to say about that?)'” was a question shouted at Kulbhushan Jadhav’s wife Chetankul Jadhav, according to a report in the NDTV.

Aapke kya jazbaat hain apne qaatil bete se milne ke baad? (How do you feel after meeting your killer son?)” – a journalist hurled at Mr Jadhav’s mother Avanti Jadhav, the report said.

Pakistan, which was artificially carved out of India by British mischief mainly due the anti-Hindu bigotry of Muslims from Punjab, Bengal, Bihar and some other Indian provinces, is highly paranoid when it comes to India.

Though the two countries were freed at the same time, India a secular democracy has reached mars while Pakistan has turned into a favorite destination for jihad tourism.

Jadhav was sentenced to death by a Pakistani Field General Court Martial in April on a charge of terrorism. The Pakistanis claim he was arrested in Balochistan but India says the former naval officer was abducted from Chahbahar port by the militant Jaishul Adal.

Despite being beaten black and blue in all wars against India — for instance former Pakistan army chief Gen Raheel Sharif elder brother Major Rana Sharif and uncle Major Aziz Bhatti both got the country’s highest military award Nishan-i-Haider after being tanked to death by India in the 1971 and 1965 wars– Pakistan army GHQ still believes  they will defeat India in Kashmir.

Many Indians correctly believe 1.32 billion Indians are being held hostage to Pakistan’s 6,20,000 parasitical army and the time has come for India to balkanize Pakistan.

“We need all over the world people doing this to Pakistan, the mother-load of bad ideas,” said Chowdhury.

Pakistan’s treatment of Jadhav ladies enraged India and #ChappalChorPakistan (pakistan is slipper thief) trended on twitter.

Prof Fair responds with funny pictures to ISI’s vicious Wikipedia attacks on her

A leading US scholar, who was earlier threatened with rape by an entire Pakistan regiment, is facing a concerted campaign by her detractors in Pakistan’s infamous ISI spy service to discredit her academic accomplishments. C. Christine Fair, who is a fierce critic of Pakistan army support to jihadi proxies against India and Afghanistan, is an Associate Professor in the Security Studies Program within Georgetown University’s Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service. She previously served as a senior political scientist with the RAND Corporation.

The ISI edits in Wikipedia against her said she was critical of leading human rights organizations such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International reports on the CIA-run drones operations against Pakistan backed militants in Afghanistan. Some of the ISI criticism directed against her is that her stance on drones has been denounced, and called “surprisingly weak” by Brookings Institution senior fellow Shadi Hamid.[9] Journalist Glenn Greenwald dismissed Fair’s arguments as “rank propaganda”, arguing there is “mountains of evidence” showing drones are counterproductive, pointing to mass civilian casualties and independent studies.[10] In 2010, Fair denied the notion that drones caused any civilian deaths, alleging Pakistani media reports were responsible for creating this perception.[11] Jeremy Scahill wrote that Fair’s statement was “simply false” and contradicted by New America‘s detailed study on drone casualties.[11]

Irked by the ISI attacks, Prof Fair said in her peculiar style that she “is a reasonably accomplished pole dancer who even knits and crochets her own costumes. In college she was a competitive bodybuilder. (See trophy in below photo.) In her free time, she likes to cook and even authored a cult best seller Cuisines of the Axis of Evil and Other Irritating States.”

In addition to Pakistan army and ISI backing of jihadi proxies, she is a prominent critic of the so-called Pakistan China Economic Corridor and blasts Islamabad’s atrocities in Balochistan. She is equally critical of Baloch militant outfits targeting non-Baloch in Balochistan, including laborers, teachers and journalists.

To ridicule her ISI detractors, Prof Fair also sent a bunch of funny pictures to share with the audience. She said these pictures could be added to her Wikipedia page. It is relevant to point out here that though Pakistan army got billions of dollars from the US to fight terrorism, senior army and ISI generals reportedly gave safe sanctuary to the US’s most dreaded terrorist Osama bin Laden near the country’s West Point. Observers point out that CIA chief Mike Pompeo is quite soft on Pakistan but even Pompeo recently remarked that Pakistan has “not yet” taken action against Islamic militants operating out of that South Asian country’s soil.

 

Picture courtesy Prof Fair
Prof Fair shows off her stitching skills
Picture courtesy Prof Fair
Prof Fair shows picture of her stich works
Prof Fair-- Picture courtesy Prof Fair
Among her many skills one is that she is a pole dancer, Prof Fair mocks at her ISI detractors.
Prof Fair at her polar best? Picture courtesy Prof Fair
Prof Fair ridicules ISI in her peculiar way
Wanna climb this pole? Picture courtesy Prof Fair
Another action picture by Prof Fair to ridicule the infamous ISI of Pakistan.

 

 

 

 

Swiss deny Bugti asylum but will PM Modi hug him as India’s son?

Indian prime minister Narendra Modi is said to be the best thing that happened to India in seven decades. Modi is also known to be great hugger, even hugging germaphobe President Donald Trump, who considers shaking hand as barbaric. But the question today is will he hug Brahumdagh Bugti, president of the Baloch Republican Party, as India’s own son as the Swiss government has rejected his asylum petition?

According to a news report in Geo TV, “A source in the Swiss government confirmed that Brahumdagh Bugti’s asylum application was turned down because of his links with “incidents of terrorism, violence and militant activities” and the rejection letter clearly sets out these allegations. Bugti confirmed to this correspondent that his asylum application has been rejected by the Swiss government on the basis of allegations that he has links with the banned Baloch Republican Army (BRA).”

First let me go back eight years. It was November 2009 when I first spoke with Brahumdagh Bugti, president of the Balochistan Republican Party. I got a call as I was organizing the first international conference on Balochistan in the nation’s capital on behalf of the American Friends of Balochistan. I thought it was the Khan of Kalat, with whom I had spoken a couple of times and the voice sounded quite familiar. But it was not the Khan from Cardiff, but Brahumdagh Bugti from Kabul.

Bugti said he wanted to seek asylum in the US and my first question was why doesn’t he go to India. “That was my first choice too. They are ready to provide us all assistance, but not asylum.”

At the time a Congress government was in power in New Delhi. India was being led by the dehati aurat or village woman — a term reportedly used by ousted premier Nawaz Sharif for his Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh. Just four months earlier, mid-July, 2009 at the Sharm el-Sheikh, Cairo, the dehati aurat made the historical blunder of indirectly admitting India was inciting violence in Balochistan in his summit with his Pakistani counterpart Yusuf Raza Gilani. India Today described the summit outcome as Manmohan Singh’s Balochistan blunder. Pakistani Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir made a fool of Shiv Shankar Menon and so did Yusuf Raza Gilani make a chump of Dr Manmohan Singh, who prime minister Modi mockingly says, “knows how to shower in bathroom wearing a rain coat.” Let alone giving asylum to Bugti, it is widely reported that Congress pacifists at times even side with the jihadis in Kashmir– just to please Pakistan.

A year later Brahumdagh Bugti arrived in Switzerland along with family, afterwards joined by about a dozen members of his Bugti tribe. He had obtained special permit for the air travel from rulers of a Gulf nation who were friends of his assassinated grandfather, former governor and chief minister of Balochistan, Nawab Akbar Bugti.

Brahumdagh Bugti may have been in France instead of Switzerland had it not been for the massive attack on Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti’s home by the army on March 17. “The military forces started shelling the town of Dera Bugti, the headquarter of Bugti tribe and the ancestral home of the Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti. Rockets and mortars also targeted his house where he was attending a meeting with his tribesmen, but luckily he survived,” according to the web site of his party, the Baloch Republican Party. In that attack, Brahumdagh Bugti’s passport with French visa affixed on it got destroyed.

ModiB

But why should India care about Balochistan?

Here are the reasons. As I consider the Baloch sons and daughters of Hinglaj Mata sakhtipeet (Hindu pilgrim site), I have always believed it is a religious and national duty of India to help the Baloch, the whole nine yards. More important than my subjective belief are historical facts that show the Baloch yearned to get freedom from the British as part of a united India but when they saw the British were bent upon dividing India, they demanded a free Balochistan.

From day one, the Baloch rejected the Two-Nation Theory of Pakistan’s tuberculosis ridden founder Muhammad Ali Jinnah. Just look at these words; they seem as if they are words printed today in a newspaper or magazine: “From whatever angle we look at the present government of Pakistan, we will see nothing but Punjabi fascism. The people have no say in it. It is the Army and arms that rule.” But this statement was made 69 years ago by the first hero of the Baloch uprising against Pakistan, Prince Abdul Karim, while he was in exile in Afghanistan. Prince Abdul Karim had used these words in a letter to his elder brother – the “King” or Khan of Kalat Mir Ahmadyar Khan – cited in The Politics of Ethnicity in Pakistan, by Farhan Hanif Siddiqi.

Historians wonder if India lost Balochistan and much of India territory to Pakistan because of Lady Edwina Mountbatten-crazed Nehru’s haste in becoming the prime minister? And they may be right in raising the question. Pawan Durani, a journalist and blogger from Srinagar, who now lives in Delhi, tweeted on October 26, 2012: “In 1947, the King of Kalat [ #Balochistan ] acceded 2 #India. Unfortunately Nehru rejected that. Rest is history. Baloch cont 2 suffer.”

London-based think-tank The Foreign Policy Center, FPC, concurs that the Baloch were let down not only by the British but also by the founding fathers of India. The story goes thus. The Baloch sovereign Khan of Kalat Mir Ahmadyar Khan, whose most tragic blunder was to have Muhammad Ali Jinnah as his lawyer in his legal dealings with the British Raj, was said to be very fond of listening to the All India Radio (AIR) broadcasts in the evenings. On March 27, 1948, what he had heard on an AIR broadcast left the Khan of Kalat shell-shocked. The FPC cites an AIR broadcast from that day, which reported a press conference by VP Menon, the secretary in the Ministry of States: “Menon revealed that the Khan of Kalat was pressing India to accept Kalat’s accession, but added that India would have nothing to do with it.”

Hakim Baloch, a former chief secretary of Balochistan, author and historian, who has written several books on Balochistan, agrees that AIR did indeed broadcast Menon’s statement – the very next day, Sardar Patel issued a contradiction that no such request from the Khan of Kalat was ever received by India. Again on March 30, 1948, Nehru went to great lengths to deny what VP Menon had said. The Khan of Kalat too denied the report, but by this time, the Pakistani guns were pointing at the Khan’s head.

As India’s founding fathers closed their eyes on Balochistan, Pakistan was already working overtime to occupy Balochistan. For example, on March 22, 1948 Pakistan prime minister Nawabzada Liaquat Ali Khan presided over a meeting of the three services chief to oversee the military invasion of Kalat and Mekran. “He was briefed by the army, air force and navy chiefs about the steps these armed services have taken in a number of Balochistan cities, such as Turbat, Pasni,” says Quetta-based Baloch scholar Surat Khan Marri.

While Indian leaders were busy issuing contradictory statements, Pakistan acted swiftly. According to human rights defender Waseem Altaf in Viewpoint: “On orders emanating from Mr Jinnah, Balochistan was forcibly annexed to Pakistan on 28th March 1948 when on 27th March 1948, Lt Colonel Gulzar of the 7th Baluch Regiment under GOC Major General Mohammad Akbar Khan invaded the Khanate of Kalat. General Akbar dragged the Khan of Kalat to Karachi and forced him to sign on the instruments of accession while Pakistan Navy’s destroyers reached Pasni and Jiwani.”

The Khan of Kalat tried his best to retain the independent status of his state, knocking every neighbor’s door. “The Khan of Kalat had tried for an arrangement with both Iran and Afghanistan as well,” said Hakim Baloch. “He had also pondered over a deal with London on the lines that the UK had with Oman,” he added. That deal envisaged Balochistan to remain a British protectorate for 25 years– to emerge on the world map by 1972.

In March 1946, Baloch nationalist leaders went to India to meet with Congress leaders to seek support for a free Balochistan. The team was led by Mir Ghaus Baksh Bizenjo,  president of the Kalat State National Party. They met Congress president Maulana Abul Kalam Azad.

Bizenjo, who later became the governor of Balochistan confirmed to me four decades later in 1988– a year before his death– that Azad refused to support a free Balochistan on the grounds that raising the issue would give the British colonialists a pretext to delay their departure from India. I had asked Bizenjo, who used to stay at my uncle’s Mustikhan Lodge in Karachi, why he had changed his stance from being an advocate for a free Balochistan in 1946 to demanding provincial autonomy in his political career, later. Bizenjo said after India’s refusal to stand with the idea of a free Balochistan, he calculated that the Baloch were not in a position to fight Pakistan’s military might on their own, so he toned down his demand to provincial autonomy. According to scholar Hakim Baloch, “Maulana Azad believed that Balochistan would not be a stable state.” Azad ruled out any help to Balochistan as he believed an independent Balochistan will serve as a British base and would undermine the independence of the subcontinent.”

In hindsight, Maulana Azad’s stance was proven to be flawed: Pakistan became the renter state of the US-West, Saudi Arabia and now China continuously causing grief to India. Vikram Sood, former Research & Analysis Wing (RAW) chief, points out to the visits of Baloch leaders to India, including the Khan of Kalat. “They wanted to draw attention to the fact that their state was different and wanted to be treated on par with Nepal,” Sood wrote in an article in February 2006, when Baloch statesman Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti was still alive. The former RAW official regrets that the founding fathers of modern India were too engrossed with Kashmir and Hyderabad to see the strategic significance of a sovereign Balochistan.

While the Pakistan Army occupied Balochistan, according to another Indian scholar Deepak Basu, “India stood by silently. Lord Mountbatten, Mahatma Gandhi, Nehru or Maulana Azad, then the president of India’s Congress Party, said nothing about the rape of Balochistan.”

On August 15, 1947 Jinnah recognized Kalat State (a huge chunk of Balochistan) as a free state. The state had a foreign minister named Douglas Yates Fell, while my late uncle A. Sattar Mustikhan became Kalat state’s ambassador to Pakistan. The national flag of Kalat state flew over our family home in Karachi’s Gandhi Garden district from August 15, 1947 to March 28, 1948.

Balochistan has a rich Hindu heritage. In addition to Hinglaj Mata sakhti peet and one of the world’s oldest Hindu civilization sites Mehergarh, it is a fact Kalat, the center of Baloch tribal confederacy, was once called Kalat-e-Sewa (Sewa’s Fort), after Sewa, a legendary Hindu hero of the Brahui-speaking Baloch people.

Some Indians believe that had the Baloch leaders in 1946 met with Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel instead of meeting Maulana Azad, the results  may have been different. These same nationalists also believe prime minister Modi wants justice for Balochistan, not merely use Baloch as proxies in tit-for-tat war games over Kashmir. We hope they are right and Shri Narendra Modi Ji will welcome Brahumdagh Bugti to India so everyone in the world, including Balochistan, knows Mother India does care for her Baloch sons.

The main reason why the Swiss have not taken into account the brutalities that Bugti has faced at the hands of Pakistan army and ISI– killing of more than 7,000 of his tribesmen including his grandfather, sister Zamur Domki and niece Jaana Domki– is that Switzerland is a highly racist society. A recent Universal Periodic Review by the UN just 12 days ago asked Switzerland to do more to fight against racism.

Modi hugs Trump-- Courtesy Hindustan Times

 

Strange case of Zeenat Shahzadi, who is still in ISI custody

Pakistan may soon have a new name internationally– Ghaibistan, or the land of the disappeared. Here is why.

She was as patriotic a Pakistani as any Punjabi in Lahore, capital of Punjab– stronghold of Pakistan army– can possibly be. On August 15, 2015 she posted on Facebook: “Military Courts starts working actively. Army Chief Gen. Raheel Sharif approved the death sentences of seven hardcore terrorists Well done.”

But this did not prevent Pakistan’s CIA called the ISI to think that she is anti-Pakistan. According to the Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE), Zeenat Shahzadi was kidnapped off the streets of Lahore on 19 August 2015, and had no contact with the outside world until her release on 18 October 2017. “The brazen, daylight kidnapping of a young female journalist was the first of its kind in Pakistan,” said the CJFE Thursday.

A global coalition of press freedom organizations are calling upon Pakistan to immediately allow freedom of movement to journalist Zeenat Shahzadi, who was recently released after two years in captivity, said the CFJE. “The 26 year old Pakistani journalist was recovered from her kidnappers last month after having vanished from the streets of Lahore, yet she has not yet been released from government custody. There is no justification for this delay. For the sake of her safety, Shahzadi must be immediately released to her family and allowed to seek counsel and treatment from qualified professionals,” said the CJFE.

The teenage brother of Shahzadi, Saddam Hussain, who was distraught over her disappearance, committed suicide by hanging himself from a tree on March 24 last year.

Journalist bodies in Pakistan, afraid that they may themselves become the next target if they speak out, kept mum over Shahzady disappearance.

Houston based Tanvir Arain, a Pakistani journalist who repeatedly faced gun attacks by the ISI, had petitioned against Pakistan spooks to former premier Nawaz Sharif in May last year for the release of the young journalist.

“I feel sorry to about the state of rule of law in Pakistan that on 19 August 2015, Ms. Zeenat Shahzadi, a journalist working for the Daily Nai Khabarand the Metro News television channel in Lahore, Punjab, disappeared while on her way to work in an auto-rickshaw. She was to appear before the Commission of Inquiry on Enforced Disappearances on August 24, but before that she was disappeared by plain-clothed persons. Police registered an abduction case against “unknown men”.

Arain said Shahzadi was pursuing the safe recovery of a young Indian engineer Hamid Ansari , resident of Andheri West in Mumbai, who was forcibly disappeared by Pakistani intelligence agencies in November 2012.

The story can be made into a hit Bollywood movie. Arain said Hamid Ansari fell in love with a Pakistani girl in the Khyber Pashtunkhwa province whom he met on Facebook. The parents of the girl wanted to get her married against her wish.

“As Ansari was denied a Pakistan visa, he came to Afghanistan and then crossed in Khyber Pashtunkhwa to meet the love of his life but was abducted by the ISI,” Arain said. He said though he never met Shahzadi, he became interested in her case as she was a fellow journalist.

Shahzadi had moved applications with the Supreme Court’s human rights cell and the Commission of Inquiry on Enforced Disappearances after securing special power of attorney from Fauzia Ansari, mother of Ansari and a college lecturer in Mumbai. (Ansari’s father Nihal Ansari is a retired bank official). She also filed a habeas corpus plea before the Peshawar High Court.
“The ISI boys asked her to back off, but she refused,” said Arain.  According to Latif, a brother of Shahzadi, she had received threats from unknown people who asked her not to pursue the case. “We too asked her not to put her life at risk, but she said she wanted to help Ansari out of humanity.”

In his letter to Sharif, Arain wrote that in February 2016 a military court is said to have jailed Ansari for three years on the charges of illegally entering Pakistan and spying.

Arain had urge the authorities to prosecute those military officials who abducted Hamid Ansari and kept him in illegal detention for more than three and a half years without producing him before the court. “The young Indian must be compensated,” Arain demanded.

People like Arain are sitting ducks in Pakistan. He is now filing for asylum in the United States.

Najeeb Khan, who lives in Albany and is director of the American Friends of Balochistan, had interacted with Shahzadi on Facebook. Khan too received ISI bullets in his body in Quetta, capital of Balochistan, for siding with the Baloch struggle. He recalls that though she used to be super patriotic when they come into contact, there seemed to have been a change in her ideas about Pakistan some months before her abduction.

The CJFE said 1,300 out of a total 3,000 missing people’s cases remain pending before the Commission on Enforced Disappearances. It said in addition to the missing persons’ crisis, Pakistan ranks sixth in the list of the 20 Deadliest Countries for journalists in the world, and as the ninth worst country in the world for impunity for crimes against journalists.

“It is unconscionable that Shahzadi’s family be delayed from reuniting with their daughter and sister any longer. The Pakistani government must immediately release Shahzadi to her family,” the CJFE demanded.

Zohra Yusuf, chairperson of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, on a query by this writer said, “As far as I know she is under treatment at a private hospital in Pindi. We have not been able to meet her.”

Gwadar: Chinese show interest in talking to Baloch

“No matter how hard they try to turn Gwadar into Dubai, it won’t work. There will be resistance. The pipelines going to China will not be safe. They will have to cross through Baluch territory, and if our rights are violated, nothing will be secure,” citing a Baloch activist, US scholar Robert Kaplan wrote an article in the influential The Atlantic. As resistance mounts to the CPEC in Balochistan, the Chinese are realizing that they can’t have Gwadar on millions of dead bodies of the Baloch and appear to be keen to talk. I was myself pleasantly surprised to see Lijian Zhao, the deputy chief of mission at the Chinese embassy in Islamabad– the Chinese point man on Gwadar–, who had previously blocked me on twitter, has now unblocked me.

This year, the Chinese officials also began routinely attending the Baloch events at the Palace of Nations in Geneva and even speak out at the events to convince the Baloch that the CPEC, which is a nearly 1900-mile network of roads, railways and pipelines to transport oil and gas from Gwadar Port to Kashgar city in northwestern China’s Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, is in the best interests of the Baloch people.

The Chinese are throwing dollars like crazy to win over the Baloch. “The Chinese have purchased many Balochistan journalists,” warns Inayatullah Baloch of Iowa. “The Chinese are directly giving guidelines to these journalists not to write a single thing against the CPEC,” Baloch says. He says his sources have told him that the Chinese are being stationed alongside Pakistan troops all over Balochistan.

The CPEC which is a component of President Xi Jinping One Belt, One Road (OBOR) initiative for global dominance will shrink “China’s routes of oil and gas imports from Africa and the Middle East by thousands of miles, making Gwadar Port a potentially vital link in China’s supply chain,” according to Global Security.

But the Baloch don’t want Chinese presence, under the bayonets of Pakistan army. It is a matter of life and death for the hapless Baloch because if China succeeds in taking over Gwadar port’s under the watch of Pakistan army, there will be no Balochistan—land of the Baloch—as they will become outnumbered and marginalized in their ancestral homeland. It will be best for Beijing to stall the project instead of drowning its $62 billion in the waters of the Baloch Gulf—the name Baloch nationalists give to the Persian or Arabian Gulf—until the key issue of Balochistan right to self determination is resolved.

As Pakistan’s leaders are brown-nosing China, the Baloch who actually own the port are raising their voice of dissent. “If the tiny Diaoyu Islands are a matter of pride and principle for China and Japan, Gwadar is also a matter of life and death for the Baloch. Any unilateral decision by Islamabad concerning the fate of Gwadar will be opposed by the Baloch at all levels,” former senator Sanaullah Baloch, wrote in The Express Tribune. He said, “There is grave concern that a large-scale Chinese presence will further militarise the Balochistan coast and the Makran region, where a non-Baloch security apparatus, that is, the FC (Frontier Corps) and the Coast Guards, has massive presence, causing immense unrest.”

Lijian Zhao, the Chinese diplomat referred to earlier, personally protested on twitter, “Diaoyu Islands are disputed territory between China and Japan. Is Gwadar disputed? Chinese are here to help Gwadar. Please be reasonable.”

The Baloch dont see any benefit of the CPEC as long as the Chinese work with the Pakistan generals. “So far as CPEC is concerned, the Baloch are resolved to sabotage China’s work and have succeeded in their efforts to some extent,” says Kachkol Ali Advocate, a former opposition leader and fisheries minister from Balochistan, who lives in Oslo, Norway. Ali  believes a maritime great game is being played out in Gwadar. “The Baloch are doing what they can, according to their resistance capacity. But actually there are big powers involved with Gwadar particularly India, Dubai, Singapore, Iran and the USA.”

China’s greedy looks on Baloch waters are not new, however. Six centuries ago, during the Ming Dynasty the Chinese were present in the warm waters of the Gulf. The most famous Chinese maritime explorer and castrated Admiral Zheng He commandeered his 63 ships and over 28,000 men to Hormuz. “His giant ‘treasure ships’, packed with the finest goods and most sophisticated weaponry of the time, went to 37 countries over 28 years, exacting tribute for the Dragon Throne and extending China’s influence across much of the globe,” according to the BBC.

The CPEC has united the Baloch and the Hindus, both locally and globally, like never before. Scholar Robert D Kaplan wrote, “Indeed, as the (Pakistan) government builds roads and military bases, Baloch and minority Hindus are being forcibly displaced. Both groups are thought to harbor sympathy for India, and they do: in Baloch and Hindu eyes, India acts as a counterweight to an oppressive Pakistani state.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

‘Angels’ of ISI who killed Daniel Pearl went scot-free

They are called “angels,” sarcastically, in Pakistan, because they indulge in dirty acts but come out clean in the end. They play the keystrokes, albeit discreetly, in politics, both domestic and regional, as well as international – as recent events have proved. An invisible government – a state within a state – if one may. They have traditionally worked as the eyes and ears for the Pakistan army – the world’s sixth largest. They are one of the world’s most dreaded secret service: Inter Services Intelligence, Pakistan’s CIA more infamous by its acronym ISI.

Successfully convincing the entire world they had no idea where bin Laden and Mullah Omar had gone, ISI spooks have had a long history of political assassinations and executions. Thousands of skeletons line their cupboards. It’s almost an open secret, none dare to speak about in Pakistan.

One of the first to fall prey was the country’s first premier Liauqat Ali Khan. The mysterious death of the sister of Pakistan’s founder, Fatima Jinnah, suffocation to death of yet another former premier, Hussein Shaheed Suhrawardy, at his Beirut hotel room, hanging of one of the most popular premiers Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, shooting to death of his son Murtaza Bhutto like a wild dog outside his home and killing of his daughter, twice-premier Benazir Bhutto herself. These are just a few.

All this comes to my mind in my musings on the macabre, cloak-and-dagger assassination of prominent U.S. journalist Daniel Pearl.

Pakistan’s master spy agency Inter Services Intelligence – the angels – had feigned innocence over the dastardly murder, circumstantial evidence surrounding Pearl’s Gestapo-style execution told a different story.

Intriguingly, most of the world’s premier media blamed only “rogue” elements within the ISI, as if the hands of the “real” ISI were clean. For instance, Newsweek had reported, the president at the time coup leader Gen Pervez Musharraf– America’s favorite dictator at the time– was “unpopular in some quarters – including, ominously, among certain officials of Pakistan’s intelligence service, the ISI – for backing the Americans against al-Qaida and the Taliban in Afghanistan and trying to crack down on extremist groups in his own country.”

As Pearl’s executioners had demanded release of the F-16s, even that Newsweek story made it pointedly clear that there was more to it than meets the eye: “If the kidnappers were standard-issue Islamic extremists, the demand for the F-16s didn’t seem to make much sense. Warplanes for the Pakistani Air Force are useless to guerrilla jihadists.” Aptly, the Newsweek story highlighted the role of a former aide and pilot of bin Laden, Khalid Khawaja, who was later killed by the very snakes the ISI helped nurture over the years.

The American public, mostly focused on things that happen within U.S. borders, seems to have acquiesced. For the people in the U.S. and rest of the civilized world, Pearl was a respected journalist from a top U.S. newspaper, the Wall Street Journal. Period. But not in Pakistan, a nation held hostage even today under the shadow of bayonets; army generals are the real rulers, the dismissal of premier Nawaz Sharif shows, while Pearl was an enemy agent for his investigative journalism.

For the ISI, especially, Pearl’s profile matched that of an “enemy agent.” As a journalist from Pakistan, I can reasonably assure the world that Pearl’s first major “sin” was that he was Jewish. His second major “sin” was he was stationed in Mumbai, commercial capital of Pakistan’s arch-foe India. These two factors themselves would have made the security managers – the angels – work overtime and keep a close tab on his itinerary.

But, of course, the cardinal sin was that he was trailing al-Qaida’s links in Pakistan. In other words, Pearl was knocking at ISI doors. It would be naivete bordering on absurdity, to believe that the ISI was not monitoring each and every move of Pearl from the very moment he landed on Pakistan soil. Any intelligence outfit worth its salt would have done just the same, considering an “enemy agent” was in the fields.

As a journalist myself, who has written on sensitive issues many years ago in Pakistan, those in the know of how the “system” works had warned me to be careful “otherwise you would vanish into thin air, traceless.” I was wise to lucky to have escaped to U.S. safety in year 2000, much before enforced disappearances of thousands of Baloch and now Sindhis began.

In fact, in my US asylum petition in 2000, I had said those who write objectively out of Pakistan are dubbed either an American or an Indian or an Israeli agent. Those words, my own, rang in my ears when Pearl’s captors first called him a CIA agent, then a Mossad agent. Beyond an iota of doubt, Pakistan’s angels had “marked” Pearl. That’s how they work.

To those angels, the man convicted of Pearl’s murder – the “mastermind” – was not a stranger either. Rather one of their own. Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, who according to a CNN October report had bankrolled $100,000 to main 9-11 terrorist Mohammed Atta on ISI instructions. That bankrolling led to the ouster of the then ISI chief Lt. Gen. Mehmud Ahmed, the key general who brought Musharraf into power – and regarded by many as more powerful than Musharraf himself in the army hierarchy.

While the FBI and police in the Southeastern province were feverishly working to track down the suspects, convicted killer Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh was comfortably in the “protective custody” of the highest security official of Pakistan’s governing province of Punjab, home secretary Brigadier Ijaz Shah. That home secretary was Omar’s mentor and was in charge of ISI’s Kashmir desk a few years earlier. Brigadier Shah was accused by slain premier Benazir Bhutto publicly that she feared he was going to kill her, but still he never got arrested. Ijaz Shah was also accused of helping hide bin Laden. However, all these allegations against Shah did not stop ISI’s pampered cricketer-turned politician Imran Khan– aka as Taliban Khan for his support to the Taliban– from inducting him into the core team of his Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaf party in spring this year.

Omar Sheikh was a soldier sans frontier, who had participated in the jihad in Bosnia and Kashmir, where he was specifically assigned to kidnap foreigners – ideally Americans – but was arrested and sentenced after a shootout in India. Omar, was deemed important enough to be one of the three militants to be freed from India’s maximum security Tihar jail in exchange for over 155 passengers aboard an Air India plane that was hijacked to Kandahar – coincidentally, headquarters of the disbanded Taliban and safest sanctuary of al-Qaida until a month after 9-11 – on the eve of the new millennium.

Intriguingly, the methods employed by those hijackers were repeated by the 9-11 terrorists. The penultimate jihad of Sheikh Omar, prior to Daniel’s kidnap-slaying, was his role in the storming of the Indian parliament in December 2001, allegedly on ISI instructions. With the angels good wishes, Omar played a key role in this operation despite the fact that the U.S. authorities had more than a month earlier, requested Omar’s extradition to the United States.

But this was just the tip of the iceberg. ISI sleuths pressured Pakistan’s largest selling English newspaper, The News, to stop the editor Shaheen Sehbai from publishing Omar’s confessions. The report was filed by Kamran Khan, who is noted for his solid sources within the spy establishment, and who also used to report for the Washington Post. After the report was published, all government ads to The News were frozen.

Those who were doing it to Editor Sehbai were not certain “rogue elements,” but highest ISI officials loyal to Gen Musharraf. “Physically threatened,” Sehbai flew to U.S. safety just three days after Pearl’s slaying videotapes made international headlines.