Thursday, 30 June 2011

Pak TV discuss Kashmir dispute

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Elections in Pakistani colony - Azad Kashmir

Elections in Pakistani colony - Azad Kashmir
Dr Shabir Choudhry 28 June 2011

In a parliamentary form of government a party that gets majority forms the next government; and the party leader becomes a Prime Minister. This happens in every democratic and civilised country. However, rules in a Pakistani occupied territory known as Azad Kashmir (independent Kashmir) are different.

PPP emerged as the winner in the elections. It was expected, as always is the case, a ruling party in Islamabad gets the desired results in Azad Kashmir to suits its needs. Barrister Sultan Mehmood, former Prime Minister of Azad Kashmir and a leader of the PPP was interviewed by a Pakistani TV. He happily claimed to have got the majority to form the government. The TV journalist asked him who is going to be the Prime Minister. Barrister Sultan Mehmood with a fake smile on his face said: Zardari Sahib will decide who is going to be the Prime Minister’ (of Azad Kashmir).

People who know how the system works and how posts are awarded, especially the post of the Prime Minister, claim that the man with a big purse will be the Prime Minister. Choudhry Abdul Majid is the President of PPP Azad Kashmir; and should have been asked to form the government. However, that won’t happen, as he is not that rich. Choudhry Yasin and Barrister Sultan Majid are strong candidates for the post of Prime Minister; and insiders claim that Barrister Sultan Mehmood will be the next Prime Minister.

That sums up the level of azadi or independence this territory and its leaders have. Who is Zardari? He is a man accused of being ten per cent because of many corruption scandals, Surrey Palace, Swiss accounts etc. He has imposed a dictatorship in his own party and has virtually ruined it. Many even accuse this man with murder of his wife as well.

Oh yes, he is also a President of Islamic Republic of Pakistan – perhaps, ideal candidate for the post according to political standards of Pakistan. As far as I am concerned, Pakistanis can have a Mafia Don as their President, but what right has he got to impose his will on people of Azad Kashmir.

How unfortunate that in this territory – Azad Kashmir who will be our Assembly Member is decided by ‘Masters’ in Islamabad. These ‘Masters’ are in the form of Asif Ali Zardari, Nawaz Sharif, and other heads of Pakistani parties which dominate the politics of this unfortunate territory. Apart from that, Minister Kashmir Affairs, top four Pakistani officials - Chief Secretary, IG Police, Finance Secretary and Accountant General run and control Azad Kashmir. The final say, as always, is with the secret agencies and Pakistani army General, known as GOC Murree (General Commanding Officer based in Murree).

As if these checks and restrictions were not enough imperialists in Islamabad ensured that genuine voice of people does not emerge strongly to endanger their interests, so they have inserted a clause in Act 74 (under which this territory is run and controlled) that those who do not sign allegiance to Pakistan could not contest any elections or qualify for a public post.

Furthermore, all major decisions, including who will get promotions and what projects should be initiated are taken in meetings of Kashmir Council, which is Chaired by Prime Minister of Pakistan and controlled by the Pakistanis who have numerical majority there as well.

After this brief introduction it is pertinent to discuss the current elections in this independent Kashmir, which does not have any independence apart from the name. It is called Azad Kashmir to fool people of Jammu and Kashmir. It is unfortunate that many people of Azad Kashmir want to live in this fantasy world that they are azad or independent, as this false sense of being azad does not require any action or struggle on their part. Whereas, if they accept that they are not azad then obligation would be to do something about it; and the structure Pakistan has woven around them in the past 63 years is so strong that they cannot get rid off it.

In the present elections, all candidates of Pakistani parties (mainly PPP, N League, MQM, Jamat e Islami) contesting elections in Azad Kashmir were chosen by heads of these Pakistani parties; and the Azad Kashmiri leadership had no role in that – what a democracy.

In my considered view and in view of many other experts, the PPP would get 16-17 seats, N League 14-15 seats and Muslim League 8-9 seats; that no party gets a majority and Pakistani establishment can manoeuvre things as suits them. One day before the elections my friend in Pakistan who has some contacts with those who call shots in matters of Azad Kashmir said: it has been decided that PPP will get 20 -21 seats, N League 8-9 and Muslim Conference get 5-6 seats.

When the election results were out, my prediction was wrong and my friend proved to be more accurate. Now there are allegations that the elections were rigged. But which elections of Azad Kashmir were not rigged? It is interesting that allegations of rigging are coming from leaders of N League and Sardar Atiq Khan who was Prime Minister of Azad Kashmir at the time of elections.

In one TV interview Sardar Atiq Khan said these are the worst elections of Azad Kashmir with rigging, violence and murders (3 deaths and 20 injured, ballot boxes stolen in some places and returning officer kidnapped). He said leaders from Pakistan (PPP and N League leaders) who came to campaign in Azad Kashmir openly violated elections rules. But was he not the man in charge of so called Azad Kashmir? If he knows he is only a puppet and there are others who call the shots then why not acknowledge that.

Let us look how elections are managed in Azad Kashmir. The Assembly has total of 49 seats. Elections are held on 41 seats, 29 seats in Azad Kashmir with 12 seats spread over in Pakistan and reserved for Kashmir migrants. These 12 seats are always in hands of those who control Azad Kashmir and ‘reward’ to the parties of their choice. 5 seats are reserved for women and are shared according to party strength in the Assembly – generally 3 goes to the party with majority of seats. 1 seat for Overseas Kashmiris, sold to the highest bidder, 1 seat for technocrats and 1 seat for religious scholars.

Actual contest takes place on 29 seats in Azad Kashmir. There are many factors which determine the outcome of the elections. By and large, tribal loyalties are still strong and ideology of any kind has very little role in Azad Kashmiri elections. Money, role of the establishment and manpower with influence and guns play an important role in the outcome of elections.

During the election campaign votes are literally bought, sometimes with cash and sometimes with offer of development projects. For example, a village which has no access to a main road and people have to walk with their luggage and other belongings for transport could be persuaded to vote for a particular candidate in return x amount is paid for the construction of the road. Similarly, people vote for a candidate when they get money – during the campaign - to construct pavements or dig wells or other schemes which governments are supposed to do anyway.

My contacts tell me that Benazir Bhutto Income Scheme money was spent generously to buy votes in Azad Kashmir. It is claimed that money which was sent for the earthquake victims of Azad Kashmir was diverted and squandered by people in high positions. This money and some other funds, people claim, are now used to buy votes under the banner of BBIS.

My contacts further tell me that one day before the elections, in targeted seats PPP workers were offering up to 5000 rupees per vote. Some were even providing big sacks of flour and sugar (which is in short supply). In a country where 5000 rupees is a monthly wage for those lucky enough to be employed, it is huge income for a day for a family with 5-6 votes.

This is state of affairs in Azad Kashmir; and this is how politics works in this part of the world. Despite the above situation people in Pakistan and in some parts of Jammu and Kashmir like to call this territory Azad or independent Kashmir – a model state which the Pakistani elite think should encourage the remaining parts of Jammu and Kashmir to join it; and ultimately merge with Islamic Republic of Pakistan – a country ruled by likes of Zardari.

Do they think we are stupid? No Sirs, we don’t want to become a part of this rotten society which is corrupt to the core, which is intolerant, which breeds extremism and violence, which is at a war with itself and which has very bleak future.

Writer is Head Diplomatic Committee of Kashmir National Party, political analyst and author of many books and booklets. Also he is Director Institute of Kashmir
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Friday, 24 June 2011

Pak, India agree to build mutual trust, confidence

Pak, India agree to build mutual trust, confidence

ISLAMABAD: The Foreign Secretary level talks between Pakistan and Indian have concluded, Geo News reported. The two-day talks focused on peace and security including CBM’s, Jammu and Kashmir and promotion of friendly exchanges. Three sessions of talks were held.

According to the joint statement, the talks were held in a frank and cordial atmosphere. Both sides reiterated their intention to carry forward the dialogue process in a constructive and purposeful manner. The issues of Peace and Security, including CBMs, were discussed in a comprehensive manner. Both sides emphasized the importance of constructive dialogue to promote mutual understanding.

They decided to convene separate Expert level meetings on Nuclear and Conventional CBMs to discuss implementation and strengthening of existing arrangements and to consider additional measures, which are mutually acceptable, to build trust and confidence and promote peace and security. The dates for the Expert level meetings will be determined through diplomatic channels.

The Foreign Secretaries noted that both countries recognize that terrorism poses a continuing threat to peace and security and they reiterated the firm and undiluted commitment of the two countries to fight and eliminate this scourge in all its forms and manifestations. They agreed on the need to strengthen cooperation on counter-terrorism.

The Foreign Secretaries exchanged views on the issue of Jammu & Kashmir and agreed to continue discussions in a purposeful and forward looking manner with the view to finding a peaceful solution by narrowing divergences and building convergences.

Both sides agreed to convene a meeting of the Working Group on Cross-LoC CBMs to recommend measures for strengthening and streamlining the existing trade and travel arrangements across the LoC and propose modalities for introducing additional Cross-LoC CBMs. The Working Group will meet in July 2011.

Both sides agreed to the need for promoting friendly exchanges between the two countries. They noted with satisfaction the progress made towards finalisation of the Visa Agreement, which will help liberalise the visa regime and facilitate people-to-people, business-to-business and sports contacts.

The two sides also discussed measures for promoting cooperation in various fields including, facilitating visits to religious shrines, media exchanges, holding of sports tournaments and cessation of hostile propaganda against each other.

The Foreign Secretaries agreed that people of the two countries are at the heart of the relationship and that humanitarian issues should be accorded priority and treated with sensitivity. The Foreign Secretaries will meet again in New Delhi, on a date to be decided through diplomatic channels, to prepare for the meeting of the Foreign/External Affairs Ministers in New Delhi in July 2011.

Speaking during the joint press conference Indian Foreign Secretary Nirumpama Roa said that dialogue would be used to resolve issues between the two countries. Pakistani Foreign Secretary Salma Bashir said that terrorism was a cause of concern for both nations.




By:Younus Taryaby

With the forced occupation of Kashmir, the Azad Kashmir Movement was

suppressed and submerged under the powerful occupations and the cultural

industries of Bharat and Pakistan . Azad Kashmir Army was disbanded. Patriotic,

democrat and revolutionary Kashmiris were marginalised, and Kashmir was

dismembered. The processes for the Bharatinisation of Kashmiris in Bharati

Occupied Kashmir and Pakistanisation of Kashmiris in Pakistani Occupied Kashmir

have begun on the basis of fraud, aggression and lies. These were immediate

destructive consequences of overthrowing of the Provisional Republican

Government of Kashmir on 24th October 1947 and the division of Kashmir on 1st

January 1949, and they continue to increase.

After the overthrow of the legal, constitutional and representative

Provisional Republican Government of Kashmir under the guns of tribesmen

invaders and the Pakistani occupation of Azad Kashmir, the only logical and

correct course to take for the people of Pakistani Occupied Kashmir was to

struggle for the re-establishment of the Provisional Government of Kashmir on

the bases of declaration made on 4th October 1947. The Kashmiri patriotics, on

the contrary, followed blindly the line of annexationists and raised the slogans

for the liberation of Bharati Occupied Kashmir. These slogans had a purpose of

leading Kashmiris into astray and abstract, far away from ground and historical


The Kashmiri patriotics failed to highlight the political programme for the

national independence and sovereignty of Kashmir that was established by the

Provisional Republican Government of Kashmir on 4th October 1947. They also

failed to identify the heinous plot and its hideous aims embedded in

overthrowing of Azad Kashmir Government on 24th October 1947. They additionally

failed to analyse the impossibility of liberating Bharati Occupied Kashmir when

living under a government whose status had been reduced from a legal,

constitutional, and independent government of Kashmir to a puppet local

municipal committee. These failures on the behalf of patriotic Kashmiris,

probably, can also be categorised as unintended destructive consequences

resulting from overthrow of the Provisional Republican Government and the course

of struggle that was changed from independence and sovereignty of Kashmir to

annexation of Kashmir by Pakistani rulers in the name of accession.

Historically, it was the Kashmiri Workers Association ‘ Britain ’ who

observed the 4th October as the ‘Azad Republic Day of Kashmir’ first time in

the history of Pakistani Occupied Kashmir in 1983. The Kashmiri Workers

Association argued for the need of a struggle to re-establish the Azad Kashmir

Government, which was set up on 4th October 1947 and to re-organise the Kashmir

People’s Liberation Army under the leadership of the re-established Azad

Kashmir Government.

It had taken a long time for the Kashmiri Workers Association to come out

with such a correct political path and solution to pragmatic problems that had

confused some of its members since 1971. In 1971, an organisation called United

Kashmir Liberation Front (UKLF) was set up by the British-Kashmiris in Britain

with an intention to launch an anti-imperialist and revolutionary struggle for a

free, united and independent Kashmir . This organisation also directed its

struggle for the liberation of Bharati Occupied Kashmir and the armed struggle

was seen as the only way to challenge the Bharati occupation, whereas, its all

members hailed from Pakistani Occupied Southern Kashmir.

Shortly before the formation of the UKLF, a Bharati Airline called Ganga was

highjacked from Bharat to Pakistan by the Jammu Kashmir National Liberation

Front (JKNLF) headed by Mohammed Maqbool Ahmed Butt Shaheed. The JKNLF was given

a warm reception in Pakistan , but after a short period of time, Maqbool Butt

Shaheed and hundreds of members of his National Liberation Front and the members

of the Plebiscite Front were arrested. They were labelled as ‘Bharati

agents’ and ‘traitors’ and were subjected to savage and barbarous torture

in Pakistan and Pakistani Occupied Southern Kashmir for a "crime" of supporting

independent Kashmir . Maqbool Butt Shaheed, who was later murdered by the

Bharati Government in 1984, and his comrades were tried as Bharati agents and

traitors in Pakistan .

The United Kashmir Liberation Front in Britain launched a vigorous campaign

for the release of Maqbool Butt Shaheed and his comrades. As a result, the

freedom of Maqbool Butt Shaheed and his many comrades was secured from the

Pakistani prisons. Due to this episode, some members of the UKLF, who later

helped to form the Kashmiri Workers Association ‘Britain’ in 1975, posed a

question and carried this question into the Kashmiri Workers Association. How

can guerrilla warfare be launched from ‘Azad Kashmir’ to liberate Bharati

Occupied Kashmir?

Dr Abdul Basit offered a fairly convincing answer to this question. In his

book titled Kashmir ki Jange Azadi, Dr Basit argued that the guerrilla warfare

against Bharati occupation can only be launched when "Azad Kashmir" is built

into preparation camp for the war of liberation and the withdrawal of Pakistani

army from "Azad Kashmir" is completed. In order to achieve this goal, Dr Basit

directed the struggle for the first phase by saying “Azad Kashmir ko jang e

azadi ki tiahri ka markaz banao†(build Azad Kashmir into the preparation camp

for the war of liberation). Although the United Kashmir Liberation Front pursued

this line and demanded for the withdrawal of the Pakistani army from ‘Azad

Kashmir’, the ideological baffling of building ‘Azad Kashmir’ into the

preparation camp for the war of an independent Kashmir remained unresolved for

many years to come. They believed that ‘Azad Kashmir’ was a camp for

Kashmir’s accession with Pakistan , because the Pakistani rulers and their

Kashmiri puppets had been presenting ‘Azad Kashmir’ in this way.

By working hard and digging the suppressed history of Kashmir, the Kashmiri

Workers Association ‘ Britain ’ resolved this complication in 1983 and

attempted to draw a distinction between Azad Kashmir and Pakistani Occupied

Kashmir. The Kashmiri Workers Association ‘Britian’ argued that there is no

Azad Kashmir without an Azad Kashmir Movement. Accordingly, the Kashmiri Workers

Association organised a meeting on 4th October 1983 in Birmingham and observed

the Azad Republic Day of Kashmir. The leaders of the Kashmiri Workers

Association held that without the re-establishment of the Provisional Republican

Government of Kashmir, ‘Azad Kashmir jang e azadi ki tiahri ka markaz nahin

ban sakta’ (Azad Kashmir cannot be built into the preparation camp for the war

of liberation).

It is not clear, whether it was a result of Kashmiri Workers Association’s

policy influence or an act of opportunism on the behalf of some leaders of the

Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF), who took the Kashmiri Workers

Association’s political direction right into the centre of the JKLF. The JKLF

adopted this policy constitutionally and observed 4th October as the Azad

Republic Day of Kashmir in 1984. Ammanullah Khan, the head of the JKLF, wrote an

article highlighting the programme of independent Kashmir declared by the

Provisional Republican Government of Kashmir on 4th October 1947. It was

published in the Daily Watan of 5th October 1984.

In addition, the JKLF organised a public meeting on 4th October 1984 in St.

Saviour Church Hall, St. Saviour Road , Birmingham , and celebrated 4th October

as Kashmir ’s Azad Republic Day. With the support and co-ordination of the

Kashmiri Workers Association, the JKLF meeting was addressed by the leaders of

the Bharati Mazdoor Sabha, Pakistani Workers Association, Irish Republican

Socialist Party, and All African People’s Revolutionary Party. All the

speakers showed their solidarity with the Kashmiri people and they supported the

national resistance of the Kashmiri people in Bharati Occupied Kashmir against

the Bharati occupation. They also supported the struggle of the Kashmiri people

in Pakistani Occupied Kashmir for the re-establishment of their Azad Kashmir


For the disappointment to all patriotic Kashmiris and their supporters, the

leadership of the JKLF betrayed both the cause of national liberation and the

struggle for the re-establishment of the Provisional Republican Government of

Kashmir by becoming a tool in the hands of the Pakistani rulers in late 1980s.

Unlike previous nationalist leaders and organisations, the leadership of the

JKLF, this time intentionally and conscientiously changed the course of struggle

from re-establishment of the Provisional Republic Government of Kashmir in

Pakistani Occupied Kashmir to armed resistance against the Bharati occupation

with the help of the Pakistani military bureaucracy.

However, in early 1990s the Jammu Kashmir People’s National Party (JKPNP)

appeared to be as a genuine political alternative to JKLF in Pakistani Occupied

Southern Kashmir. The JKPNP refused vehemently to play in the hands of the

Pakistani rulers. It stood clearly for the re-establishment of the Provisional

Republican Government of Kashmir and for the re-organisation of the Kashmir Army

as a first essential phase of the struggle to be achieved towards the liberation

of Bharati Occupied Kashmir. The JKPNP also exposed the JKLF’s stage-managed

drama of trampling and destroying the Line of Military Occupation. The JKPNP

criticised JKLF for sending unarmed civilians in front of entrenched occupying

armies. This position taken by the JKPNP meant that it set itself into train

towards trampling and destroying the Line of Military Occupation through armed

struggle. The Kashmiri Workers Association ‘ Britain ’ not only supported

this position but its members also joined the JKPNP (British Branch) to make

contribution in the advancement of this struggle.

Again for the disappointment to all patriotic and revolutionary Kashmiris,

Sardar Shawkat Ali Kashmiri, the, then, Secretary General of JKPNP was found

guilty of receiving money from a foreign power and he was expelled from the

party (see The News International: 24 June 1992). It is believed that he

intended to change the course of struggle from the re-establishment of the

Provisional Republican Government of Kashmir to armed resistance against the

Pakistani occupation with the help of the Bharati agencies. Probably, he

intended to follow the deceitful model set by the leadership of the JKLF.

Although, the JKPNP suffered a setback in its short-term struggle, this

provided the basis for building trust and credibility in its long-term struggle.

However, not after long, a rift between the President and the Senior Vice

President caused by their so-called secret differences resulted in falling apart

of the JKPNP in 1996. Consequently, the Kashmiri Workers Association ‘ Britain

’ withdrew its support for JKPNP.

Currently, most nationalist organisations in Pakistani Occupied Southern

Kashmir recognise the importance of the Provisional Republican Government of

Kashmir, which was set up on 4th October 1947. Notwithstanding, they lack a

historical touch with Azad Kashmir Movement and a revolutionary spirit. Perhaps,

they have either no knowledge of the Azad Kashmir Movement or they are seeking a

place for themselves in the New World Order, the global-colonialism headed by

the US imperialism. As a result, the people of each occupied part of Kashmir are

still facing an up-hill struggle to re-establish their legal, constitutional and

representative Azad Kashmir Government.

Omissions and Commissions, editorial by Najam Sethi

Omissions and Commissions

14 1

After much prevarication and double-dealing, the government has finally conceded the right of the chief justice of Pakistan, Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry, to nominate a judge of the Supreme Court, Justice Javed Iqbal, to head a commission of inquiry into the May 2 Abbottabad security breach by US Navy Seals. But the Commission, sanctioned by a consensus in parliament one month ago, is far from kicking off in earnest. The government's other nominees are not all credible or independent. So a controversy will dog the government until it is reconstituted to everyone's satisfaction.

Much the same sort of official foot-dragging has marred an inquiry into the murder of journalist Saleem Shehzad. The protesting media was ignored until it threatened to black out government and military news. Then the government conceded the need for a judge of the SC to head it but came a cropper when it sought to bypass the CJP in nominating one.

The interesting thing, however, is that the CJP, when requested, immediately conceded the judge chosen by the government in each case. This shows the willingness of the CJP to play ball with the executive where there is no conflict of interest or ego.

Clearly, the government is not interested in uncovering the facts in each case because they may embarrass the military. And the military is not keen on edging closer to the SC and doing its bidding vide Article 190 of the constitution which arguably enjoins it to obey the orders of the SC to compel the executive to comply. That is the quid pro quo for protecting each other from the slings of the media and the arrows of Nawaz Sharif. So both commissions are doomed to wither on the vine.

Nawaz Sharif has read the writing on the wall and decided to confront both the military and PPP. So he has launched his PMLN as the anti-establishment party. But this is going to be a tough act to follow because Punjab, his home base, is also the recruiting ground of the Pakistan Army and the deep reservoir of its obsessive anti-India national security ideology and policy. His brave talk of a dividend from peace with India, and civilian supremacy over, and accountability of, the military, will confuse many Punjabis. But his targeting of the PPP's abject incompetence and the alleged corruption of Mr Asif Zardari will delight others. His anti-American populism will thrill and attract people most of all, especially since both the PPP and the army leadership is perceived to be pro-America. One may also expect him to forgive the political opportunisms of many of his old comrades and welcome them back into the ranks of the PMLN.

Mr Zardari has picked up the gauntlet. He has counterattacked with some fairly demeaning epithets to describe Mr Sharif. His strategy to rope in the PMLQ is based on the simple arithmetic that the PPP has got a lot of the votes and the PMLQ has got some good electoral candidates in Punjab. Promise of a Seraiki province is a winning slogan in the south too. He is secure in Sindh while the ANP, a devoted partner, is not likely to let the JUI encroach on its hard won government. That is why he is in with a fair chance to stop Mr Sharif in his tracks.

The military's "wild card" is Imran Khan whose popularity is rising by the week. Many young people are impressed with his passion and candour and want to "give him a chance". They believe both PMLN and PPP have had two chances each and bungled them. But Pakistan's politics has become so factionalised into regions, ethnicities, biradaris, tribes and sects that it is highly unlikely he can win an election. The military is nonetheless hoping that along with the MQM and FATA, Imran's PTI can help create a countervailing force in parliament allied to the "establishment".

Mr Zardari is digging his heels in to complete one term and spring for another. Mr Sharif knows all will be lost if he can't heave Mr Zardari out before next March when the Senate elections are due. As it is, the PMLN cannot even snatch the role of the leader of the opposition in the Senate. After March it will all but be wiped out on the basis of the current arithmetic. Similarly, it is a do-or-die moment for Imran Khan. He has been out in the cold for the last fifteen years and the prospect of another five in the wilderness is not acceptable.

Meanwhile, the media is feeling particularly insecure and the judiciary is uneasy at the prospect of a PPP-Army alliance. The former fears a crackdown and the latter is agonising about being rendered impotent.

No good can come of this political matrix. It is inherently unstable. Our tragedy could be compounded by the impatience and arrogance of America. It is forcefully staking its claims in the region while we are scrambling for countervailing space within our own country.

Comments (3 comments)

In a society where everybody discusses things just to prove they are right, hardly anything is going to move. Mr, Sethi is right in pointing out the latest confrontation of all concerned. The fact is we normally do not reason. If we bother to reason at all, far too many of us do so only to confirm our views. We react with vitriol to challenge, and in the winning damage our ability to change for the better. We need to learn and apply ways to respond to others that don't dismiss their value as people. We should teach those ways to our children and demonstrate them to our peers -- start more gatherings and even family discussions with a focus on a goal that is not the emergence of a single winner but a constructive way forward. As a child the only discussions I remember are those where my elders tried to prove that they were right and I was wrong. Not a healthy
Posted: Friday, June 24, 2011 by SharifL from Germany

In a society where everybody discusses things just to prove they are right, hardly anything is going to move. Mr, Sethi is right in pointing out the latest confrontation of all concerned. The fact is we normally do not reason. If we bother to reason at all, far too many of us do so only to confirm our views. We react with vitriol to challenge, and in the winning damage our ability to change for the better. We need to learn and apply ways to respond to others that don't dismiss their value as people. We should teach those ways to our children and demonstrate them to our peers -- start more gatherings and even family discussions with a focus on a goal that is not the emergence of a single winner but a constructive way forward. As a child the only discussions I remember are those where my elders tried to prove that they were right and I was wrong. Not a healthy
Posted: Friday, June 24, 2011 by SharifL from Germany

No doubt Nawaz Sharif has become antiestablishment leader but in the Sindh province, which is deemed anti-establishment province, Nawaz sharif wont get votes depite the facts majoiry of voters dislike PPP. They have no other choice, Imran Khan may no win seats in Sindh. There is actute need of progressive Party in Pakistan.
Posted: Friday, June 24, 2011 by Habib Sanai from Hala Old

Pakistan-India relations: Going nowhere? Editorial Tribune

Pakistan-India relations: Going nowhere? Editorial Tribune

Published: June 23, 2011

Indian Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao arrived in Islamabad on June 23 for two days of talks with her Pakistani counterpart, Salman Bashir, and if you thought there was any chance of things moving forward this time, Indian Foreign Minister SM Krishna whispered from across the border: Don’t expect much. He didn’t have to say it: Pakistan is going through another spasm of instability at home because of al Qaeda and the US even as the two mainstream parties — PPP and PML-N — seen as stakeholders in normalising relations with India are at each other’s throat. They both tried to garrotte each other in Kashmir where pledges were made that are totally incompatible with the normalisation of Pakistan-India relations.

India has the Mumbai terror attack card to play because the public opinion in India is stuck on it and there is more jingoism in the media there than Prime Minister Manmohan Singh can handle, despite his helpful peace-seeking remarks. The heat is off Kashmir as far as Pakistan is concerned, even though India is hardly handling the trouble in the Valley any better. The Indian policy of bothering Pakistan in Afghanistan instead is working and Pakistan is taking the bait to further damage its standing at the global level. Being a revisionist state, Pakistan suffers vis-à-vis India if India does nothing. Pakistan says India is creating trouble in Balochistan but can’t procure any proof of this. Some Pakistani officials lump India together with the US and Israel and are blaming the ensemble for attacking the PNS Mehran base in Karachi.

India hides its policy of doing nothing on peace talks by harping on about the 2008 Mumbai attack by Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and asking Pakistan to cough up or punish the culprits. Pakistan is famously dragging its feet on the LeT trial in an anti-terrorism court and no longer even pretends that the world is not laughing over its prevarication. Instead, more scandals are surfacing about the Mumbai attack from a trial that has unfolded in the US against those who planned the attack together with LeT. Meanwhile, officers in the Pakistan Army are being apprehended, confirming the global fear that an increasingly unstable Pakistan is being undermined by its ‘rogue’ elements.

Pakistan’s relations with India are bedevilled by other factors too. Pakistan is alone in the region because last time it was dominant in Afghanistan it made the regional states suffer. Now everyone wants it to clean up its jihadi organisations lined up behind al Qaeda; and India is hiding behind this universal demand. Instead of asking the world to help it hunt down and eliminate these terrorist militias, Pakistan is trying to switch its enemies: The US is taking the place of al Qaeda, an organisation which is bad in the eyes of only 11 per cent of Pakistanis according to a recent poll. The media have projected to the hilt this new ‘strategic adjustment’ which favours India by isolating Pakistan.

Yet the Pakistan-India dialogue has been restarted under pressure from American and European diplomacy. Why is the West pursuing Pakistan-India peace? Because getting out of Afghanistan will be more realistic and peaceful if India and Pakistan stopped their confrontation in the region. The realisation that the Afghan crisis is nothing but another manifestation of the Pakistan-India proxy conflict is not new. The problem is that Pakistan is unwilling to abandon its old threat perceptions; and India is too willing to benefit from the fallout of the Mumbai attack and the rapidly deteriorating political and economic situation in Pakistan. The current pantomime is of no use. In India and Pakistan, people are too convinced of their separate morally correct assumptions to support any real change. What is to be done?

The ball is in Pakistan’s court because it can’t live with the current status quo, while India can. Economists on both sides thinks that the two should stop trying to resolve their disputes and take up the project of free trade and an integrated South Asian market allowing cross-border investments and communication arteries. This can be done without giving up Pakistan’s claim on Kashmir. Conditions of peace and cross-border movement will rescue Pakistan from its famine-threatening economic paralysis and encourage a grateful international community to give a helping hand.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 24th, 2011.

Monday, 20 June 2011

Peace and progress in Pak lies in Indo-Pak friendship

Peace and progress in Pak lies in Indo-Pak friendship

By Kundan Kashmiri 2o June 2011

Pakistan’s undeclared war against India over Kashmir has brought immense loss and destruction to Pakistan itself. Consequently, the entire world views Pakistan as a country with no stability. Foreign investors are now extremely reluctant to invest in Pakistan. The proxy war in Kashmir has led to rapidly escalating instability and violence within Pakistan itself, causing grave problems for its own people. Scores of Pakistan’s religious and educational institutions have turned into centers of violence and destruction. Because of all this, Pakistan is witnessing an alarming brain-drain, with most of its highly-qualified and capable people fleeing the country because of the ongoing violence, the lack of developmental opportunities, and the poor state of infrastructure in the country.

The completely unrealistic policies of Pakistan with regard to Kashmir have proven to be a stumbling block that is blocking the path to Pakistan’s further development. The only way out for Pakistan is to change its policy as regards Kashmir, that is, it should rather focus on the opportunities for positive development and progress that are available to it. Pakistan must now admit & settle the fact that whole J&K including PoK is part of India. If not possible to return PoK to India under present circumstances then recognize the status quo in Kashmir and accept the line of Control in Kashmir as the international border between India and Pakistan, albeit perhaps with some necessary adjustments. This can be a permanent solution to the Kashmir conflict. For this, Pakistan must cease its emotion-driven policies and politics with regard to Kashmir and instead adopt a sensible, realistic and pragmatic approach. Once it is able to establish peace with India by settling the Kashmir dispute, it will be able to work towards establishing peace within its own borders and work for the progress and development of the country.

For the last sixty years Pakistan’s politics have revolved round the Kashmir issue. However, Pakistan’s efforts to annex Kashmir, that is, to change the status quo in Kashmir, have only resulted in massive destruction – in Kashmir and within Pakistan itself. Nothing positive has ever come out of these efforts in the past, nor will they bear fruit in the future. For both India & Pakistan to accept the status quo in Kashmir and the Line of Control as a permanent and accepted border between India and Pakistan is, admittedly, difficult. But If Indian & Pakistani leaders gather the courage to take this bold step, it is bound to lead to miraculous consequences. It will break down the barrier between India and Pakistan and build a relationship of close friendship between the two countries. The negative mentality of the Pakistani people, built on hatred for India, will give way to a positive approach. Trade links between the two countries will flourish, to the benefit of both. In spite of being one as regards language and culture, both countries, have become ‘distant neighbors. Subsequently, with the restoration of all the links, they will be able to benefit from each other in the fields of education and culture. By ending its enmity with India, Pakistan will be able to progress in the same manner as Japan was able to after it ceased its enmity with the United States in the aftermath of the Second World War.

The Truth is that when any individual or group tries to achieve any goal, he finds himself in a set of situations which may be called the status quo. This suggestion to build better relations between India and Pakistan through acceptance of the status quo is not a new one. As long ago as the early 1960s, during the rule of Jawaharlal Nehru, the governments of both the countries had evidently agreed on this principle. The Kashmiri leader, Sheikh Mohd. Abdullah, had even left for Pakistan as a mediator. However, because of Nehru’s sudden demise, this historic agreement could not be arrived at. “By 1956, Nehru had publicly offered a settlement of Kashmir with Pakistan over the Ceasefire line. On May 23, 1964, Nehru asked Sheikh Abdullah to meet Ayub Khan in Rawalpindi in an effort to resolve the Kashmir imbroglio. The Pakistani leader agreed to a summit with Nehru, to be held in June 1964. This message was urgently telegraphed to Nehru on May 26. But just as Nehru’s consent reached Karachi, the world also learnt that Nehru had died in his sleep. And with that a major opportunity for peaceful solution over Kashmir was lost.

If both the countries were to accept the status quo in Kashmir as a permanent settlement and the Line of Control as the international border it would entail no harm at all for Pakistan and indeed for the Muslims as a whole. In spite of remaining separate from Pakistan, Kashmir would still remain in Muslim majority area. Further more, it is an uncontestable fact that the Muslims who stayed on in India are in a much better position than those who opted for Pakistan and Bangladesh. Thus joining India will only help the Kashmiris in many ways.
Another point is that adopting a policy of conciliation with India would amount to putting an end to confrontation with its powerful neighbor. Such a step could throw open the doors to all kinds of progress. An example of this is provided by the present Japan. Before the Second World War Japan and America were each other’s enemies. But after the war Japan opted for a policy of total reconciliation. Consequently, Japan emerged on the world map as an economic superpower. It must also be recognized that the policies that Pakistan has been pursuing have proven to be a major reason for Islam getting a bad name. In line with its present policy, Pakistan has used hatred against India as a means to create an artificial sense of Pakistani unity. The result of this wrong policy has been that Pakistan has failed to unite in the name of Islam but appears to be totally united on the basis of hatred for India. This has given critics an excuse to argue that Islam lacks the capacity to unite the Muslims and it does not hold Pakistan together any more, but anti-Indianism does. If Pakistan adopted a conciliatory approach, its people would develop a positive approach and attitude to life, which would facilitate the emergence of a new era, wherein Islam, not anti-Indianism, could become the basis of Pakistani unity. It might open all doors of peace and progress to presently disturbed Pakistan.
We believe this will also pave the way to settle down the issue of minorities in Kashmir once for all by restoring their all basic rights and right to live together as community in the valley under free flow of Indian Constitution.

Time Line of Pakistani Nuclear Program from 1981 to 1998

Time Line of Pakistani Nuclear Program from 1981 to 1998

1981- PAEC completes the Pilot Reprocessing Plant "New Labs" at PINSTECH.

1981- Reagan Administration lifts economic and military sanctions and embargoes against Pakistan.

1981- May 1, ERL renamed Dr. AQ Khan Research Laboratories by General Zia-ul-Haq.

1983- March 11, PAEC’s Directorate of Technical Development, successfully conducts the first "cold" test of a nuclear device. A second cold test is conducted shortly afterwards and is witnessed by Vice Chief of Army Staff, General KM Arif, Ghulam Ishaq Khan and Munir Ahmad Khan. From 1983-1992, DTD carries out 24 cold tests of different designs of nuclear weapons.

1983- March 11, following the first successful cold test of a working nuclear device, PAEC chairman informs the President of Pakistan, General Zia-ul-Haq that now Pakistan is ready to make an atomic bomb whenever it wants.

1983-A Computer Training Centre set up in PAEC.

1984- Dr. AQ Khan gives interviews in which he talks of Pakistan’s ability to successfully enrich uranium to any level required.

1985 - Pressler Amendment [section 620E(e) of the Foreign Assistance Act] requires a total cut-off of U.S. aid to Islamabad unless the president can certify that Pakistan does not possess a nuclear weapon, and that continued US aid will significantly decrease the probability of its developing one in the future.

1985- Plutonium Production Heavy Water Reactor at KHUSHAB started by PAEC.

1986- Commenting on Pakistan's nuclear capability, General Zia, President of Pakistan, tells interviewer, `It is our right to obtain the technology. And when we acquire this technology,’

1986-KRL starts producing weapons-grade highly enriched uranium.

1986-Pakistan and China sign a historic civilian nuclear cooperation agreement. This agreement is signed by Foreign Ministers of the two countries in the presence of PAEC chairman and his Chinese counterparts in Beijing.

1987- Pakistan proposed to India an agreement on a bilateral or regional nuclear test ban treaty

1987- DTD develops a nuclear weapon design small enough to be carried by all PAF aircraft.

1987- Hot tests conducted by PAEC at the New Labs reprocessing plant.

1987- PAEC begins work on the heavy water production plant at Khushab and also on the Heavy Mechanical Complex-3 project.

1987- PAEC acquires a tritium purification and production plant from West Germany.

1987-PAEC reportedly receives a solid-fuel propellant plant from China.

1988- President Zia tells Carnegie Endowment delegation in interview that Pakistan has attained a nuclear capability `that is good enough to create an impression of deterrence.'

1989- PAEC Chairman Mr. Munir Ahmad Khan and Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan receive the Hilal-i-Imtiaz award from the Govt. of Pakistan

1989- November 2, PARR-2 achieves critical stage

1989-November, Pakistan and China reach an agreement for the supply of a 325 MW Chashma-1 Nuclear Power Plant (CHASNUPP-1). PAEC chairman says that this deal has broken an international embargo on Pakistan for the supply of nuclear power reactors.

1990-PAEC completes loading of all Pakistani nuclear fuel bundles in KANUPP.

1990-Dr. Samar Mubarakmand, appointed Director of the National Development Complex project.

1990- October ; President Bush announced that he could no longer provide Congress with Pressler Amendment certification that Pakistan does not possess a nuclear weapon. Economic and military aid was duly terminated, though the Bush administration continued to permit a limited number of commercial military sales to Pakistan. Pakistan handled the cutoff with little public rancor and committed itself to freezing the nuclear program in an attempt to placate the United States. The transfer of 71 F-16 A/B, P-3 Orion, Harpoon SSM, M-198 Towed-artillery, and other military equipment shipment is halted even though Pakistan paid for these items

1991-Pakistan proposed to India commencement of a multilateral conference on the nuclear proliferation in south Asia

1991- India and Pakistan enter agreement prohibiting attacks on each other's nuclear installations.

1991-PAEC completes the up-gradation of the 5 MW PARR-1 to 10 MW and coverts it from HEU to LEU fuel through indigenous efforts.

1991- April; Dr. Ishfaq Ahmad takes over as PAEC Chairman as Mr.Munir Ahmad Khan retires after 19 years.

1991-December; PAEC and China National Nuclear Corporation sign contract for the construction of the 325 MW CHASNUPP-1 project.

1992- PAEC cold tests its latest nuclear weapon design.

1992- Pakistani foreign secretary publicly discusses Pakistan's possession of `cores' of nuclear devices

1992- December; The US Government asked Pakistan to return eight US Navy frigates and a supply ship that had been leased to the Pakistan Navy, which accounted for more than half of Pakistan's major surface combatants because of sanctions.

1993- Pakistan proposed to India creation of a missile-free zone in South Asia

1993- National Development Complex completed and Dr. Samar Mubarakmand assumes charge as it’s Director-General.

1993- The Clinton Administration, citing what it considered to be asymmetrical treatment accorded to Pakistan and India over their respective nuclear programs, proposed revising the Pressler Amendment and certain "country-specific" sections of the Foreign Assistance Act. The administration argued that by the time nuclear nonproliferation provisions had been added to the Foreign Assistance Act, India had already acquired the capability to build nuclear weapons and thus Pakistan had borne the brunt of most United States sanctions.

1994- The Clinton Administration withdrew its proposal to revise the amendment because of strong criticism from a number of influential members of Congress, including Senator Pressler himself.

1994- April; Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott visits Islamabad to propose a one-time sale of F-16 fighter aircraft to Pakistan. Delivery of the planes would be contingent on specific commitments from Pakistan regarding its nuclear program, including a verifiable cap on the production of fissile materials. Talbott states that there is "broad agreement" between the United States and Pakistan on the goal of "first capping, then reducing, and eventually eliminating weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles from South Asia."

1995 – September; The Clinton Administration proposes revisions to the Pressler Amendment, citing the Amendment's roadblocks to cooperation with Pakistan's Government in areas such as combating terrorism and furthering US commercial interests in Pakistan. Under the Brown Amendment, the US would not deliver the controversial F-16 aircraft or resume an official military supply relationship with Pakistan, but the President decided to sell the F-16 aircraft to other countries and return the proceeds to Pakistan

1995- PAEC begins work on the solid-fuelled Shaheen missile system in NDC under the direction of Dr. Samar Mubarakmand.

1996- January 1st; India and Pakistan exchange lists of atomic installations which each side has pledged not to attack under an over seven-year-old confidence-building agreement

1996- January 23rd; The Brown amendment was signed into law to relieve some of the pressures created by the Pressler sanctions, which had crippled parts of the Pakistani military, particularly the Air Force. The Brown amendment allowed nearly $370 million of previously embargoed arms and spare parts to be delivered to Pakistan. It also permitted limited military assistance for the purposes of counter-terrorism, peacekeeping, anti-narcotics efforts, and some military training

1996- October 3rd, Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto called for the convening of a South Asia security conference that would deal with, among other things, Kashmir and the nuclear arms issue

1996- Former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif while addressing a political rally said “Let me tell you that we [Pakistan] have atomic bombs… Pakistan's nuclear capability is now an established fact. Whatever we have, we have a right to keep it...."

1996- PAEC completes Pakistan’s first indigenous 50 MW Khushab plutonium production reactor which was begun in 1985-86.

1997- The Centre for Nuclear Studies attains the status of a University and it is renamed the Pakistan Institute of Engineering and Applied Sciences (PIEAS)

1997- The Khushab plutonium production reactor goes critical.

1998- April, KRL tests the liquid-fuelled IRBM, Ghauri, to a range of 1,100 kms.

1998 April; PAEC “commissions” the 50 MW Khushab plutonium production reactor which becomes operational.

1998- May 11 and 13. India carries out five underground nuclear tests in Pokhran.

1998-May 28, PAEC’s Directorate of Technical Development carries out five nuclear tests at the Chaghi nuclear test site. Pakistan’s Foreign Office terms it as “Pakistan’s Finest Hour”.

1998-May 30, PAEC carries out one more nuclear test at the Kharan desert test site, 150 kms away from Chaghi. This is the most advanced and compact of all nuclear weapon designs tested by Pakistan.

Friday, 17 June 2011

Pakistan has to change its mindset on Kashmir

Pakistan has to change its mindset on Kashmir
Dr Shabir Choudhry 17 June 2011

1. When we said in 1990s that Pakistani policies were damaging the Kashmir dispute; we were called ‘anti Pakistan’, ‘anti Kashmiri movement’ and supporting India on Kashmir.

2. But when Nawaz Sharif, two times Prime Minister of Pakistan and currently tallest and most sincere leader of Pakistan in a seminar organized to mourn the death of Syed Saleem Shahzad on 10 June 2011 said same thing that: Pakistani institutions have caused more damage to the Kashmir dispute than anyone else; he is considered as a Statesman with a great vision.

3. Nawaz Sharif further said, “There is no sacred cow in the country and none should try to become a sacred cow as (we) won’t allow such an attempt”. He said if the army wants not to be criticised it will have to remove the causes of criticism; and they would have to change their mindset. He said: “End your domination of foreign policy (making) if you wish the criticism to end.”

Those wishing to view the interview can check this web link:

4. When he said that, no one accused him of being anti Pakistan or supporting India on Kashmir. While we were discussing on the topic of Nawaz Sharif’s statement and his criticism of army and the ISI, one friend said he is a son of Punjab, how could anyone call him a ‘traitor’? Only people of Sind, Balochistan, Frontier, Bengal and Kashmir could be honoured with a ‘title’ of being a ‘Traitor’.

5. When we said militancy was started and managed by Pakistan (although it was people of Jammu and Kashmir who suffered on both sides of the divide with varying degrees), some Pakistanis and their Kashmiri agents yelled that it was ‘indigenous movement’. They used extremely vulgar words against us and accused us for being anti movement and pro India.

6. Over the years many top Pakistani officials and famous journalists have acknowledged that the militancy was initiated and managed by Pakistani secret agencies. Most recent in this series of admissions was made by a retired Pakistani General and a former Home Minister during Benazir Bhutto government Mohindin Haider. In a live ARY TV show ‘Do Tok’ on 12 June 2011, General Moindin Haider acknowledged that it was a policy of Pakistan to send in militants in Kashmir to bring India to the negotiation table. He said just like they created Mukti Bani in East Pakistan, we started militancy in Kashmir as it was cheap way to engage 700,000 army of India instead of having an open war.

7. No one will call him a ‘traitor’ or criticise him because he is a Pakistani and a former General – a class of people above the law in Pakistan. All the foot soldiers of the Pakistani establishment are also tight lipped on this; and some shamelessly still claim that the Kashmiri struggle is indigenous. I have said this before and I will say it again:

8. The people who suffer are indigenous, the property that is destroyed is indigenous, people who are uprooted are indigenous, business that is lost is indigenous, hatred and extremism that has been promoted affects indigenous people; but training to kill and destroy is Pakistani, bombs are Pakistani, guns are Pakistani and money spent for this mission to engage the Indian army is also Pakistani.

9. Those who want to view this interview could visit the following web link:

10. When we said to members of the Pakistani establishment that, for God’s sake, don’t bring jihadi warriors from other countries as that will change fundamental character of the Kashmiri struggle. We further said these jihadi warriors are alien to our struggle and our culture, and are creating problems for us and tomorrow they will create problems for Pakistan as well. At that time we were called anti Islam, anti jihad, anti Movement and pro India.

11. Now nearly all sensible people, commentators, writers and scholars in Pakistan are demanding that these jihadi warriors which were created by Pakistani agencies to advance their strategic interests must be crushed, as they have become a serious threat to Pakistani interests and state of Pakistan.

12. Pakistani establishment have made big blunders and have seriously damaged the Kashmir cause, and anyone who criticise them is accused of being anti Pakistan; even a leader like Benazir Bhutto was considered as a ‘security risk’. Many critics believe that the Pakistani establishment does not want to resolve the Kashmir dispute as it helps them to dominate the Pakistani politics and policy making. In this regard Nazir Naji, very famous Pakistani journalist with close connections with the establishment wrote in Daily Jang on 12 June 2011:

13. ‘Concept of our defence hinges on Kashmir dispute. All military preparations, all weapons purchased and bulk of the budget is spent on defence which we cannot afford. For defence we deprived our children of food, medicine and good education; but what is the outcome? Failure in 1965 war, which we started to liberate Kashmir. Instead of invasion of Kashmir we had to struggle to save cities like Lahore and Sialkot.’

14. He continues to explain defeats of Pakistan against wars with India; and asserts that in 1965 war Pakistani advance was so rapid that they crossed River Tavi and could have captured a large area of Jammu and Kashmir before India could have managed a counter attack. But all of sudden General Akhtar Hussain Malik, who was in charge of this attack, was replaced with General Yayah Khan; and with that Pakistani advance also stopped. The Indian counter offensive came five days after this. To date no one knows why this change was made. One view is that thinkers in the army establishment might have said – ‘Fools if we take over Kashmir then what will you do’ - meaning if the Kashmir dispute is resolved then there will be no justification for the large army and a big budget, and all other benefits attached with all this. Those wishing to read he article go on this website:

15. Pakistani establishment must acknowledge that Kashmir does not belong to India or Pakistan. It is not a religious issue. It is not a territorial dispute. Kashmir dispute concerns people of Jammu and Kashmir’s unconditional right of self determination. Pakistan must not promote the Kashmir dispute as a Muslim issue or a religious dispute, as it will give rise to extremism and divide people of Jammu and Kashmir on religious lines.

16. Pakistan is in deep crises and situation is getting worse with time. Pakistan cannot get out of these crises by diverting attention to other issues. They have to look at the root cause of their problems and try to address those problems by rooting out corruption, nepotism, regionalism, extremism and by exterminating ‘jihadi forces’ who have given bad name to our religion and have also landed Pakistan in this quandary.

17. As for Kashmir, it is best you leave us alone, at least, until you have resolved issues which have endangered stability and future of Pakistan. We Kashmiris do not want to be part of India or Pakistan; and attempts to capture Kashmir must be stopped as it will endanger peace and stability of the entire region.

Writer is Head Diplomatic Committee of Kashmir National Party, political analyst and author of many books and booklets. Also he is Director Institute of Kashmir
View my blog and web:

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

LoC-Trade and Travel “CBM” under severe stress

LoC-Trade and Travel “CBM” under severe stress
Confidence building to confidence bulldozing… Dr. Sheikh Waleed Rasool

The habitants of “Jehlum” and Neelam Valleys’ inhabiting along the banks of river “Jehlam” and “Kishan Ganga” were prone to thunderous cross fire in a fog and glowing tracers during dark nights as death warrant since decades fallowed by mortars Vis-a-Vis rocket propelled grenades as heavy dozes to target innocent Kashmiris from both sides of divide, whose lone peccadillo was to live along the LoC so were facing the wrath since five decades.

It was spur-of-the-movement rather seventh heaven for deprived people in the hot soup when seize fire was in public eye amid of hullabaloo fallowed by opening of two among six barriers dividing Kashmir from Uri-Chakotti and Chak da Bag-Tetrionote. New-Delhi and Islamabad allowed crossing the traffic on 2th Oct. 2009 from Chakotti to Salamabad and vice- versa. The “CBM” was pig in poke so was partially operational because only few of the modalities were agreed upon, tax regime was not on board from both sides so ground work was zilch to make it applicable on the ground. It was pie in the sky, for the people who were racked with pain hence were raised in barn, still, received it in open arms in a pinch.

The mile stone of cross-LoC Trade and Travel in the shape of “CBM” laid by Gen.(R) Mushraff,s regime in Islamabad fallowed by Sardar Attique and Dr. Manmohan Singh fallowed by Muftii Syed and Mahboba Mufti from PDP is having an significant historic significance but later on they turned deaf hence jump bailed to consolidate it despite majority among them were still at helm of affairs, except “Mush “although PPP led collation was having same wave length”. It clearly indicates that everything was in line, only, because of players like PDP and Mushraff.
There is always diverse opinion regarding LoC interchange of goods and communication having formidable impact on conflict resolution but none can refute particularly about those people who live along LoC suffered heavy loss, during ongoing struggle of right to self-determination. They were off the hook by traffic of loaded trucks instead of heavy military hardware. Entire fabric of LoC changed overnight, habitants living close to bankers from Uri to Chak da Bag vis-à-vis from Chakotti to Tetrnote seemed to get rid from suffocation in new configuration..

Life of these far- flung areas changed in the short run therefore habitants who have been fled due to heavy shelling and nightmares while keeping body and soul together returned to home. Rates declined, goods were cheaper than capital cities of Srinagar and Muzaffarabad. Although it was gentle nudge initially but habitant seemed to show concern to reconstruct and rebuild their shops and houses. Business opportunities knocked their door step. The roads were reconstructed from both sides of divide therefore no skeleton of burnt military or civilian vehicle seems to be haunting the pedestrians. It was ecstatic that Forces of India and Pakistan seemed to come out of concrete dens to facilitate traders and travelers instead of creating havoc, as their body language was cooperative, indeed, in conflict zone it is unbelievable practice. The frontline areas once inaccessible seemed to full of life due to heavy traffic so people who survived in odd days, happened to enjoy the dream in broad day light.
Said; Rashid “habitant of Chakotti” our only desire was to have some money while selling our valuables and to flee towards the slops of “Pindi” since this place was devastated. The jumbo size holes of our home speaks volumes of ours narrowly escape, my Uncle and sister died on spot when a mortar shell hit our home, “my mother was milking buffalo”. There is no iota of doubt in it that we have new lease of life after cease fire and hustle bustle of cross-Loc trade changed our mindset

It is miraculous and mind-boggling that we can’t even dream that hundreds of people from drivers to traders and from conductors to whole sale merchants are stationed in Tetrinote like sensitive area when majority of the habitants of an area have already left their home due to heavy shelling. I was in intense pressure from my kiths and kins to leave this area who are settled in UK but I have deep affiliation with this soil, so I resisted. Sardar Amin Khan of Tetrinote said; “The style of this entire area has now changed because there is more hustle bustle during trading days than “Rawalakote” the district headquarter of Poonch”. The houses of road side has been converted in to restaurants’, motels and stores.

LoC is again eerie as stake holders have been pushed to corner hence left no option except to halt the trade so loaders moving to and fro paused the entire hustle bustle along the line of control the “wall of Berlin” restricting habitants of same soil “Kashmir” to have interaction since six decades. The honeymoon seems to over again, now they need to hold one’s breathe because peaceful hours are again in turbulence.
The statics’ furnished by reliable sources up to 21th of May 2011 speaks volumes about the potential of cross-Loc trade and travel. From Indian controlled side of Kashmir 6473 passengers visited Pakistani controlled side while as India has just cleared 1059 people to visit their controlled side.11803 loaded trucks has been passed from Muzaffarabd side of Kashmir vis-a-vis 12360 trucks crossed from Srinagar side of Kashmir. The business of 6.66 billion and 6.5 billion is estimated up to 28th Feb 2011.The volume of transaction had crossed 14 billion approximately up to 31th May. The above figure is just a business of two days in a week because only Tuesday and Wednesday is opened to cross to and fro.

The “blind” barter trade is tariff free as agreed upon by India and Pakistan controlling two parts of Kashmir despite Indian Government is charging tax at Madoepore crossing in Jammu vis-à-vis Traders from Pakistani controlled part are paying 7000 to each crossing still the tax authorities of Pakistan and India are seizing the trucks says, Khurshid Mir, coordinator, Joint Traders federation. We tried to live bygones’ be bygones to leave a word for those who create hurdles, we are in deep water we humbly request, let sleeping tigers lie. “Travel and Trade Authority “TATA” is helpless”, the tale of other side of divide is same. “Let the chips fall where they may”, he added.

“We are already paying” it is gospel truth, still we demand that viable mechanism should be evolved by “FBR” Federal Board of Revenue so proper papers should be furnished from LoC onwards, because when our trucks are seized, we have to grease their palms, it is double barrel assault when tax authorities are tagging us as smugglers, meanwhile goods get perished during custody so traders suffer heavy losses. “We can make come back if ways and means of live hood is snatched by Tax mafia who made it hot for us.” Said; Mr. Nazir Butt a trader”.

We are at the same wave length as that of traders from other side of LoC, our problems have same nature said; Pawan Anand, President, joint Traders community from Jammu. “We left no stone unturned so kept harping on, while knocking every door In Srinagar and Jammu happened to cry in wilderness so we decided to go for strike for two weeks”. Imposing tax and VAT in odd hours without any reason, when we have been already in hell and back. Yes, “strike is not solution it is last-ditch effort but we have no route available to get an attention of authorities” who are at the helm of affairs. We demand to mend the fences. Because we are in the middle of road “We demand permanent solution not adhoc or cosmetic one,” added Pawan Annand.
Barter trade crossed the 14 billion when only short list of 21 items were allowed to trade among these 21 items, despite every and any item profitable was banned by either authorities e.g Garlic, peanut, Ajwain, were initially banned by Indian Authorities’ fallowed by Dal-Mongi, Black piper by Pakistani Authorities. Traffic is continuing in spite of all hurdles despite Chak-da Bag route is closed since four months.

Buss service is nominal, ratio is 1:7, India is reluctant to clear the passengers’ so half of “CBM” has been already collapsed, Bus is not carrying more than 5 passengers’ because people don’t not get chance due to slow process ’ and it takes years to avail a luxury to cross few yards from Chak-da Bag to Tetrinote and from Chakotti to Uri so natives living on either side of “wall of Berlin” are frustrated by this loly pop when trade is about to met the same fate.

There is another horrible dimension of this tale that Kashmiris have once again missed the boat. They have lone role of clearing agent, middle man or brokers instead of “Traders” therefore tangible trade is between the business tycoons of Lahore/Faisalabad to Amritsar, even Delhi to Karachi and Quetta to Mumbai is connected via LoC. Majority of genuine Traders have been diluted because mega suppliers were keen to eliminate middle man from the scene in order to have direct liaison to grab more profit. Kashmiris are once again forced to be “Haatoo” although some opportunists are responsible to provide the shoulder for fire. Feeling the heat genuine traders are accessing the gravity of situation and are keen to establish their writ as stake holders, says, Musadiq Khan; a trader; “We will expose the agents soon” we are framing joint strategy from both sides of LoC, “so we will never allow anyone to misuse the route”.

Ajaz Ahmad a trader Said: “It is conspiracy if Business tycoons of Lahore, Amritsar and Delhi to bypass us”. We will never allow anyone to misuse it because traders of Gilget have Susst boarder linking to China, Traders of Peshawar have Darra- Khyber linking to Afghanistan and Lahore and Faisalabad have Wagah and Attari fallowed by sea port of Karachi. They are ambitious to control this point because they have huge investment and links in Amritsar, Delhi and Mumbai. The mega traders have business configuration with Tax mafia so they always get cleared despite they are trading non agreed items, but our carriers are seized.

The Kashmir centric “CBM” is having direct linkage with Indo-Pak relations although resumption of talks after Mumbai carnage was sigh of relief despite couple of rounds of secretary level talks on Sircreek and Siachen have yielded no result so one can’t expect anything concrete when comparatively complex issue is scheduled to be debated in third round.

Amid of high optimism traders can’t rescue this “CBM” alone until and unless they will not get oxygen from foreign offices of New Delhi and Islamabad because it is their sole purgative and authority to address the issues of traders and travelers to ensure and extend the peace hours along Loc and its inhabitants who profusely bleeded during knock-down-drag out fight of bordering neighbors.

One cannot paper over the cracks because remarkable confidence was yielded along the dividing strip despite the people living along the slopes of Jammu and Kashmir don’t give it more importance although it is not “pay dirt” but roaring guns fell silent under the buzz of trucks however at this crucial juncture bulldozing of confidence will more catastrophic because exchange of goods is better than exchange of explosives, as one is icon of life and former circulates death.

The lone Kashmir specific “CBM” trade and travel via Line of control “LoC” is under severe stress and a fog, it is neither strengthened nor consolidated hence, is merely show of one’s true colures to bulldoze confidence despite there is ray of hope that the differences will be narrowed during upcoming India- Pakistan talks.
614 registered traders are in a huff, whose head can roll hence are in rampage because they are in hot water and hole, who can hedge ones bets, if the states will not feel the gravity of situation. Traders who kept their figures crossed to implement this “CBM” demand, hearing because their huge stake is on doldrums, Let us hope against hope and put heart in the right place. Kashmir Centric lone “CBM” shall be rescued, which is nowadays on stretcher.

During upcoming third round of secretary level, “Kashmir working group” parlays, New
Delhi and Islamabad should avoid hem and haw in order to reach on impasse about tax and VAT issues from both sides of divide while ensuring its implementation, that only can inject the fresh blood in lone Kashmir centric “CBM” which is at verge of collapse despite there are gray areas in context of bilateral talks.

Cross-LoC trade and travel as “CBM” is a hot potato so none can’t hush up to kept it in limbo and shambles as some outside forces have foot in both camps and eyes on the ball vis-à-vis fingers on the pie who are perusing that “nuclear neighbors” shall keep up with joneses hence shall avoid knitting once brow’s.

Our two Kashmirs, By AG Noorani

Our two Kashmirs, By AG Noorani

June 11, 2011 Dawn
JAMMU & Kashmir is, indeed, split into two today; a tragic consequence, of a merciless fate which singled out this great and beautiful part of the subcontinent for brutal treatment. But Kashmiris, bar some who have profited politically and financially from the situation, are not reconciled to this partition. In their hearts and minds, there is only one Kashmir.
To begin with, may I suggest that we drop the hideous nomenclatures — Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and Indian-held Kashmir? Why not East Kashmir and West Kashmir? That is how the two split Germanies called each other even in the worst days of the Cold War.
Change in the nomenclature will signal a new approach. The Kashmir dispute was all but settled less than six years ago. The Mumbai train blasts in 2006 and the judges` crisis in March 2007 put paid to plans to finalise the draft agreement and sign it. The Mumbai blasts on Nov 26, 2008 retarded the peace process considerably. The fact remains that an agreed draft agreement does exist, waiting to be unwrapped, dusted and engrossed on a decent piece of paper for signature by the heads of governments of Pakistan and India.
Meanwhile, like the Japanese strugglers in the forests of Southeast Asia who did not know that the war had ended, some in both countries continue to repeat old recipes. The situation is grim and the lot of the hapless Kashmiris unbearable. They can ill afford to wait and watch as the current parleys between their two `guardians` proceed at a snail`s pace.
If India and Pakistan have any real concern for Kashmiris, they ought to move jointly and separately to improve the situation on the ground so as to make life more bearable for the people. This is very much within the realm of the doable without the slightest dilution in each other`s stand. A recent event, little noticed in the press, suggests a way out of the impasse. Greater Kashmir
May 19, 2011 will, one hopes, be regarded as a historic date. For, on that day, for the first time since the partition, officials from both parts of Kashmir met at the Peace Bridge in Uri on the Line of Control (LoC) to discuss issues relating to trade across the LoC and the bus service. We owe to G.U. Kyani of the Srinagar daily for a full report which he filed from Islamabad that day. They agreed that “the bus service should be allowed to cross the bridge”. Right now the bus from each side stops near the bridge for the passengers to take the bus awaiting them on the other side, carrying the luggage with them on foot. rahdari
The cross-LoC trade is by barter as in mediaeval times. Traders cannot consult each other`s requirement on the phone; there are no banking facilities, none for acceptance of letters of credit; and no agreement on currency. The India-Pakistan accord on the bus service was signed on Feb 16, 2005. A fortnightly bus service began on April 7. Elaborate procedures for the requisite permit were prescribed ignoring the simple system since 1949.
In October 2008, trade representatives from Azad Kashmir visited Srinagar and signed with the traders there an accord to set up a joint body, the Federation of Chamber of Industries and Commerce. Another MoU set out the details on trade. Trade across the LoC began on Oct 21, 2008 only to hit predictable road blocks the very next month.
In the talks on May 19, Azad Kashmir was represented by the DG of the Trade and Travel Authority Brigadier Ismail and deputy commissioner Hattian Bala Abdul Hameed Mughal. The government of J&K was represented by the director, industries and commerce, Kachoo Asfandyar, deputy commissioner Baramulla, Bashir Ahmad Bhat and trade facilitation officer, Salamabad, Nazir Ahmed Baba. Both sides decided to send the recommendations to “higher authorities” for their approval. They are an integral part of the ceasefire arrangement as recorded in the notes by the military adviser to the UN Commission for India and Pakistan on the meeting of the commanders-in-chief of both countries on Jan 15, 1949. entirely
Cross-LoC trade and travel are no favours they bestow on Kashmiris. They informed him of the points on which they agreed. “They divided their task into (i) a first part, within their competence, which could be immediately achieved.” In this category fell this accord: “Both commanders-in-chief agreed to restore the communications by road between Srinagar and Rawalpindi, and to rebuild the necessary bridges. In addition, telephonic liaisons between these two localities will be restored.” Whatever happened to this solemn accord reached just a fortnight after the ceasefire on New Year`s Day 1949? The Hindu
The president of Azad Kashmir Raja Zulqarnain Khan poured his heart out, to Shujaaat Bukhari of when they met at Muzaffarabad on June 1. “I am desperate to visit your part of Jammu and Kashmir.” Now 78, he was born in Jammu where his father was governor. He was educated in Srinagar and spent “memorable days” there. He strongly urged that the certificate of residence be treated as a “smart card” for free passage on both sides. “You cannot hold back people for long.” They have been held back for 63 years.
Improvement of the situation on the ground will help in implementing the Kashmir accord when it is signed. Emulating the May 19 meeting, officials of both parts of Kashmir should meet at least once every month to discuss freely matters of mutual concern. The draft Kashmir accord provides for a “joint mechanism”.
Why not begin immediately on talks at the officials` level on the topics listed for discussion in the Irish North-South Ministerial Council under the agreement of April 10, 1998 — waterways, agriculture, transport, environment, health, fisheries and the like. Additionally academics, journalists, artists, artisans and craftsmen should be actively helped to meet their counterparts across the LoC. It suffered no damage when journalists from Pakistan visited Srinagar a few years ago.
The writer is an author and a lawyer.

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Pakistani General accept militants were sent in to bring India to negotiation table.

Pakistani General accept militants were sent in to bring India to negotiation table.

In a live ARY TV show Do Tok on 12 June 2011, General (retired) Moindin Haider and former Home Minister of Pakistan acknowledged that it was a policy of Pakistan to send in militants in Kashmir to bring India to the negotiation table, just like they created Mukti Bani in East Pakistan. It was cheap way to engage 700,000 army of India instead of having an open war.

Pakistani Nukes and the UN

Pakistani Nukes and the UN
Dr Shabir Choudhry 12 June 2011

Pakistan is a declared nuclear weapon state. There are only nine countries in the world which have these weapons. Many believe nuclear weapons bring status, power, influence and stability; but I am not sure if one can say Pakistan has all that.

Nuclear weapons are made with huge amount of money diverted away from social and welfare programmes. It requires many years of hard work and sacrifices, and one clear purpose is that the nuclear weapons will protect borders of the country, its sovereignty and pride, and promote status of the country.

In a land of pure – Pakistan, however, situation is different. Weapons of mass destruction – atom bombs, which Pakistan is keep on improving and increasing their numbers have not brought stability, promoted status of the country or even defended borders and integrity of the country. It is pointed out by some critics that like ‘strategic assets’ and ‘strategic depth’ which, later on became liabilities, it appears nuclear bombs have also become a ‘liability’, as the entire effort seems to be to protect them at a great cost to people and the country.

In a comity of nations Pakistan DOES NOT have good reputation. Everything wrong is associated with Pakistan. Fingers point to Pakistan or Pakistani controlled areas whenever there is a terrorism related incident in the world; and attitude and performance of the army and army related institutions is surely not helping the situation.

The country is deeply divided on religious and sectarian lines. There is a civil war going on in various parts of Pakistan. Those responsible for maintaining law and order and defending sovereignty, integrity and borders of the country are busy in activities which promote insecurity and fuels public anger. It seems no one is in charge to weather the storm which is about to engulf Pakistan; or even worried about dangers facing the country.

Anyone who dares to criticise those responsible for landing Pakistan in this quandary, without any hesitation, are declared anti state, traitor and not patriotic. It looks that the men in uniform (most of them are not even educated - a person holding a certificate of FA or FSC, basic requirement to get a commission in the army is not an educated person – everything they get after getting a commission is training and educationalists differentiate between training and education. Highly renowned guerrilla commander Ilyas Kashmiri who was recently killed in a drone attack was trained, but he was not educated – he was a university drop out) and their agents have wrongly assumed that they have monopoly over wisdom and knowledge; and they alone are patriots. And because of their power and institutional discipline and strength they have right and power to issue certificates who is loyal and who is a ‘security risk’.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s statement that Iran has “precise information that America wants to sabotage the Pakistani nuclear facilities in order to control Pakistan and to weaken the government and people of Pakistan", has made head lines in Pakistani and international media. The news came as a shock to many Pakistanis who were assured by John Kerry only a few weeks ago that there were no such plans.

But who is John Kerry? He might be important to the Pakistani rulers, civil and military alike, as they line up to shake hand with him, and like good children or students listen attentively to every word uttered by him; but he does not make decisions of this nature in America. He is only a Senator. In a country like India and in most civilised and democratic countries President, Prime Minister, Army Chief, secret agency Chief and Foreign Minister won’t meet him.

I have no doubt that the world community is not at ease with Pakistan in control of most deadly weapons on earth. Would people in a market place feel safe when they see a careless and mischievous child playing with a hand grenade? They know child will not only kill himself, but also endanger lives of other people in the market.

The question is what should people in the market do? Should they ignore the child and let him play with the hand grenade; or some how try to take the hand grenade away from him? The child is fascinated with the new toy under his control, and does not want to lose his control. The child discovered that under shadow of this toy he can get away with murder, including export of jihad, violence, extremism and terrorism to other countries.

The child fully appreciated his power and influence and soon recruited like minded children to continue his policy of promoting violence and inflicting fear and harassment. He even got away with Kargil misadventure and attack on the Indian Parliament; and this surely boosted his confidence and sense of pride.

The people in the market have a choice of remaining quiet, but will the danger go away just because they don’t want to be ‘interventionalist’, or don’t want to jeopardise their trade and other interests. There is a danger that if they surround him to persuade him to stop his immature and childish actions the child could use the weapon in his hand; or in order to get sympathy can shout slogans like, Islam is in danger, conspiracy of Hindus, America and Jews and child abuse.

My friend Abbas Butt and I had a meeting with a very senior figure from the European Parliament in 2007. A tragic incident in London known as 7/7 had taken place, which killed more than fifty innocent people. This incident was carried out in name of ‘jihad’ by some misguided extremists, who were also trained in areas under Pakistani control. This and other similar incidents created enormous problems for Muslims peacefully living in Britain and other European countries.

In the meeting, we discussed terrorism and extremism and identified sources of terrorism; and how to counter that. Despite Pakistani claims to fight terrorism, and in return receiving billions of dollars, it was an open secret that Pakistan was supporting terrorist groups and promoting and exporting terrorism. This issue came under discussion in the meeting; and I said I don’t know what could be done to change policy of Pakistani rulers. They know there will be no war because they have nuclear weapons.

It was at that time, our guest said: “Eventually the UN will to take over”. I strongly believe our guest had no intention of saying this and this phrase slipped out because of the nature of the discussion and at heat of the moment.

I said how that is possible. The UN has no army. The UN cannot sanction a war on Pakistan just because the country has nuclear weapons. I asked many questions and requested for replies and some explanation for that phrase, but I got no replies. Our guest did not say another word on that and each time changed topic.

I said to Abbas Butt after the meeting that this phrase speaks volumes about the situation in Pakistan and what dangers the country was likely to face. Because of the position our guest held at that time, it surely gave access to those areas where this kind of discussion could take place. I said only way the UN can take over the Pakistani nukes is:

1. If a situation is created where the government of Pakistan is unable or unwilling to guard these weapons and there is credible evidence that these weapons could get in to wrong hands;

2. Or if there is a civil war, where armed forces are actively fighting each other and there is a serious danger that someone could use these weapons against each other or against Pakistan’s neighbours, an emergency meeting of the Security Council could be convened to pass such a Resolution that for the safety of humanity and peace and stability of the region, the international community has to act and act fast and take control of the Pakistani nukes.

I discussed this matter with some Pakistani journalists who have contacts with secret agencies of Pakistan. Also I discussed this with one senior member of the Pakistani establishment. They didn’t look too worried about this, perhaps they thought their position was so secure that such action could not be taken against Pakistan.

Pakistanis have been relying too much on their strategic location, protection or influence the nuclear weapons provide and on the Chinese support; especially their Veto in the Security Council. But Pakistanis need to wake up, and understand fast changing regional and global situation. No one burns his fingers to put out a fire at neighbours house when the neighbour is only pouring more fuel to the fire.

Pakistanis need to realise that there is a serious danger to their existence; and those who claim that Pakistan is a gift of Prophet PBUH and that Pakistan will remain till doomsday are misleading and are providing a false sense of security. Prophets gift were Qur’an and his Sunna; and whatever is happening in Pakistan is totally against teaching of Qur’an and Sunna. There is no justice, no sense of security and those who are employed to provide security kill people, as if they were in jungle hunting wild animals.

Pakistan gift of Prophet PBUH or not, Pakistan created to serve Islam or to serve some other forces, fact, however, is that Muslims are not safe in this country, apparently created in name of Islam. This is not to suggest that non Muslims are safe in Pakistan. Need of the time is to take appropriate actions now to save Pakistan and people of Pakistan. If immediate and correct actions are not taken then Pakistan may not exist as a nation state; and name of Pakistan might continue with a new geography, as it happened in 1971.

Pakistani nukes, their safety and command and control have been subject of discussion around the globe. I am sure they are safe; and those who control them know how to protect them and how to use them as well, if need arises. Pakistani people are very emotional about their nuclear assets and the Kashmir dispute.

Their rulers have messed up the Kashmir dispute, as rightly acknowledged by Nawaz Sahrif in an interview on 10th June. He said Pakistani institutions have caused more damage to the Kashmir dispute than anyone else. Of course he was referring to the army and the ISI. They have messed up importance, if any, of the ‘strategic depth’ and ‘strategic assets’; and I hope they don’t do same to the nuclear assets.

Many of those who rule Pakistan have very little interest in welfare, stability, prosperity and future of the country at least that is how it appears, mainly because Pakistan is their second home. If something happens to Pakistan they will pack their bags and fly out on C130; and leave the people to face the mess they created.

People with history knowledge might remember that the last ruler of Muslim Spain (known as Undhless to Muslims), King Abdullah was allowed to leave Spain with his family. He left his fellow Muslims at the mercy of those who defeated King Abdullah.

I fear it is already too late, as many things are already in motion to deal with future serious problems; but those who take Pakistan as their first home and those who care for people, peace and stability of the region need to act that catastrophe could be saved.
Writer is Head Diplomatic Committee of Kashmir National Party, political analyst and author of many books and booklets. Also he is Director Institute of Kashmir
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Saturday, 11 June 2011

Pakistan's Kashmiri problem, Praveen Swami

Pakistan's Kashmiri problem
Praveen Swami

Even if a military offensive against jihadist leader Ilyas Kashmiri's bases in North Waziristan materialises, Pakistan's prospects of crushing the jihadist movement are bleak.

Eleven years ago, Muzaffarabad newspapers carried photographs of a grinning jihad commander carrying the severed head of Bhausaheb Maruti Talekar of the Maratha Light Infantry, a macabre trophy of a raid across the Line of Control.

Last week, the man in the photograph was reported killed in a United States drone attack. In the years since it was taken, Muhammad Ilyas Kashmiri had emerged as the head of Brigade 313, a feared al-Qaeda linked group that draws its name from the number of followers of Prophet Muhammad who defeated the numerically stronger armies of pagan Mecca. Even though media reports that Kashmiri was connected to the 2008 Mumbai attacks are erroneous, he was responsible for a string of attacks within Pakistan, including the recent strike on a naval base in Karachi. Brigade 313 is also alleged to have jihadists plotting attacks in Europe last summer, and has been linked to the 2009 Pune bombing.

There is still contention over Kashmiri's fate — Rehman Malik, Pakistan's Interior Minister, said he was “98% certain” that Kashmiri was dead, while the United States military says it has no confirmation. But reports have come amongst renewed debate over a possible Pakistani offensive against his bases in North Waziristan, the epicentre of the country's jihadist movement.

Forces loyal to Sirajuddin Haqqani, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI)-linked Afghan warlord, are reported to have relocated to adjoining Kurram in anticipation of an attack, and Mike Mullen, the United States' military chief, fuelled rumours that an attack was imminent, saying the operation was “very important.”

Not without reason, sceptics are unmoved: Admiral Mullen had said just the same thing in October last year: Pakistan's military chief General Pervez Kayani, he said, “committed to me to go into North Waziristan and to root out these terrorists.”

Either way, the bad news is this: going into North Waziristan is profoundly unlikely to have an abiding impact on the jihadist movement — as opposed to particular terrorist groups — in Pakistan.

Politics and peace: Long before 9/11, the rise of the Taliban in Afghanistan brought about seismic political changes in north-west Pakistan's political landscape. Inspired by the example of the Islamist insurgents they had fought with, young commanders who had participated in the Afghan jihad began to displace the traditional tribal leadership. In some cases, local Islamist militia were set up. North Waziristan's Dawar tribe, for example, formed its own Taliban as early as 1998-1999.

The case of Umar Khalid, a jihadist commander from Mohmand with whom Pakistan signed a short-lived peace deal in 2008, is instructive. Born into the Qandharo sub-tribe of the Safi, and a school drop-out, Khalid had no traditional claims to leadership. Instead, he fought with the Harkat-ul-Mujahideen in Jammu and Kashmir and in Afghanistan after 9/11. Following Pakistan's 2007 raid on the Islamist cleric Abdul Rashid's Lal Masjid in Islamabad, he used his jihadist militia to impose a brutal new order in Mohmand: women were forbidden from receiving an education, music was banned, and barbers were punished for shaving beards.

Leaders like Khalid show that the Pakistani Taliban aren't just ideological enemies of the Pakistani state: they are rebels against the traditional structures of power among the region's societies, and a political challenge to the complex order that sustains Pakistani sovereignty there.

Sana Haroon's path-breaking history of the region, Frontiers of Faith, suggests that north-west Pakistan's jihadists are heirs to a long tradition. Haroon has shown that the political life in the region involved a complex negotiation between tribal custom and clerical authority. Ayesha Jalal's Partisans of Allah, in turn, demonstrates that the ideological foundations of Islamism in the region date back to the collision between Empire and Islam in India. Indeed, as scholars like Thomas Ruttig have shown, much of what is passed off as tradition, like the code of Pashtunwali, is an expedient justification for political expedience.

Back in 2002, under intense pressure from the United States to mop up jihadists fleeing Afghanistan, General Pervez Musharraf ordered the Pakistan army into the Federally-Administered Tribal Areas, the site of these contestations. Operation Meezan, or Balance, was the army's first intervention in the region since independence in 1947. In 2004, a further offensive targeted jihadist strongholds around Wana, in South Waziristan.

Less than prepared for the rigours of a counter-insurgency campaign, Pakistan's army was mauled. Lieutenant-General Safdar Husain, the commander of the Peshwar-based XI corps, persuaded General Musharraf to back down, and seek negotiated deals with the jihadists.

In April 2004, the pro-Taliban legislators Maulana Merajuddin Qureshi and Maulana Abdul Malik Wazir secured a peace deal with 10 commanders of the Islamist insurgency in North Waziristan — an arrangement called the Shakai Agreement. In essence, the commanders promised not to target Pakistan, if the army called off its offensive and let foreign jihadists live in peace.

Less than seven weeks later, though, the deal fell apart, after the two sides failed to agree on the registration of foreign jihadists — in the main, Uzbeks, Chechens and Arabs. Even though Nek Muhammad, the key signatory to the Shakai deal, was killed in a missile attack, the Islamist insurgency went from strength to strength: North Waziristan is now the most important hub for jihadists fighting the Pakistani state, as well as North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) forces in Afghanistan.

The February, 2005, the Srarogha deal went much the same way. Facilitated by the Jamiat Ullema-e-Islam leader Maulana Fazl-ur-Rehman — whose abiding relationship with the Pakistani state has led to his twice being targeted in suicide-bombings this year — the deal saw the jihad commander Baitullah Mehsud agree to expel foreigners from South Waziristan.

Mehsud, though, simply used the deal to regroup, and began fighting again in 2007. The army initiated a half-hearted offensive against Mehsud late that year, but called it off in the wake of the Mumbai attacks: in a briefing for media, an official spokesperson even described the jihadist commander as a “patriotic Pakistani.”

Large swatches of South Waziristan are now ruled by Nazir Ahmad — a Taliban leader who proclaimed last month that his Taliban forces and al-Qaeda were united. “At an operational level,” Nazir said, “we might have different strategies, but at the policy level we are one and the same.”

Finally, in 2006, the Pakistan army signed a third peace deal with the Uthmanzai Wazirs of North Waziristan, hoping to stave off the prospect that low-level attacks would escalate into an insurgency. The agreement, in effect, handed power to Islamists; their flag was flown at the function where the deal was signed. Less than a year on, the two sides were at war, once again.

General Musharraf's desperate peacemaking needs to be understood in the context of the crisis Pakistan was confronted with after 2001. He was faced with multiple lobbies calling for dismantling the army's historical clients, the jihadists: India threatened war, following the attack on Parliament House in New Delhi; the United States was irked by the support jihadists in Pakistan's cities offered al-Qaeda; military insiders like former ISI chief Javed Qazi argued that the military-mullah alliance made attracting desperately-needed investment impossible.

His eventual half-hearted crackdown on jihadist infrastructure, though, proved enough to send thousands of jihadists fleeing the plains into areas like Waziristan. There, they soon realised Pakistan's threats were pyrrhic — and prepared the terror offensive now tearing apart cities in Punjab and other provinces. The scholar Hassan Abbas has recorded, in a seminal paper, that from “March 2005 and March 2007 alone, for example, about 2,000 militants from southern and northern Punjab Province reportedly moved to South Waziristan and started different businesses in an effort to create logistical support networks.” Events have shown that jihadists can be crushed — but at a cost. In 2008, the secular-nationalist Awami National Party took power in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, sparking off a collision with jihadists in neighbouring Swat. Swat's jihadist movement dated back to 1989, when local cleric Sufi Muhammad's Tehrik-e-Nifaz-e-Shariat-e-Muhammadi (TNSM) sought to replace tribal custom with Shari'a law. Backed, ironically enough, by smugglers and druglords who wanted to eject the Pakistani state from the region, the TNSM waged a low-grade war against Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto's government in 1994-1995. The insurgency re-erupted again in 2006.

The ANP government's attempts to reach a deal with Muhammad came to nothing: by 2009, its cadre were being systematically eliminated. The last straw, by some accounts, was a 2009 speech where Sufi Muhammad declared that democracy and Islam were irreconcilable — and that women should only be allowed to leave their homes only for the Haj, not even medical treatment.

Finally, the military went in — crushing the TNSM insurgency, but in the process causing massive civilian displacement and hardship that some fear will lead to a pro-jihadist backlash. Notably, the victory did nothing to end terrorism in the region, which rages on.

Now, though, with a middle-level officer corps ever-more sympathetic to the Islamist cause, a substantial popular constituency hostile to backing the United States' war on terrorism, and a military that has demonstrated few counter-insurgency skills, there is little stomach for another campaign. Fighting in North Waziristan, without doubt, degrades the jihadist movement's capabilities, but large-scale terrorism will not quickly end. For that, Pakistan needs political resources — a commitment to democratisation and development, and parties that can deliver them — that it simply does not possess.

For the foreseeable future, Pakistan's descent into the abyss seems inevitable: war or no war in Waziristan.