India-Pakistan: Some Myths Are Too Valuable To Sacrifice

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March 20, 2015: Despite declaring war on Islamic terrorists in early 2014 and actually sending troops into a long-time Islamic terrorist sanctuary (North Waziristan) in mid-2014, Pakistan still has a lot of Islamic terrorist supporters in the military and ISI (the army controlled local CIA). That Waziristan campaign is effectively over after it killed over 2,300 Islamic terrorists and 210 soldiers and police. There were also hundreds of civilian deaths and nearly two million people were displaced. In addition to the 2,300 dead the Islamic terrorist groups lost over 5,000 men to permanent injuries, arrest and desertion, Thousands of survivors have fled to Afghanistan or other parts of the northwestern tribal territories. A few hundred appear to have fled to other parts of Pakistan, particularly Karachi. Thus the Islamic terrorists are still there, just not in the same place, in smaller numbers and still active. Untouched are thousands of “good” (who only attack India) Islamic terrorists remain, mostly in northern Kashmir and the large cities. These Islamic terrorists still operate openly with minimal interference from the security forces or courts.

Even the murder of 132 by Islamic terrorists in December 2014 did not cause major defections from the ranks of Pakistanis who believe that a religious dictatorship is the ultimate solution for Pakistani problems (mainly corruption and bad government). When it comes to Islamic terrorism Pakistan is still prone to going after the symptoms (Islamic terrorist violence and those who carry it out) and not the disease (the religious mythology justifying Islamic terrorism). Nevertheless the United States and Afghanistan have openly praised the increased Pakistani counter-terrorism efforts in the last year. The question is will Pakistan keep at it in order to permanently reduce Islamic terrorist activity in Pakistan. At the moment that does not seem likely because Pakistan still refuses to crack down on Islamic terror groups that stick to attacking India. The Pakistani military still considers portraying India as a major threat as necessary to maintain the immunity from prosecution the military has long enjoyed, especially when it comes to the use of Islamic terrorism against India, which is the only thing that makes India pay any attention (in a military sense) to Pakistan. The Pakistani military needs an angry India to keep Pakistani generals wealthy and out of jail. Some myths are too valuable to sacrifice for things like good government and national prosperity.

After decades of using the same old lies and deceptions the anti-Indian propaganda campaign the Pakistani military wages against India has become embarrassing. For example, accusations that most of the Islamic terrorism in Pakistan (and Afghanistan) are the result of Indian intelligence efforts are absurd. In response to this criticism the Pakistani military has promised, several times, to present compelling evidence to back its claims. The evidence never shows up and Pakistan is becoming an international joke (at least in intelligence agencies) because of this. But inside Pakistan laughing at or criticizing these myths can get you arrested (by soldiers) or killed (by ISI agents). 

Pakistan has persuaded the Afghan Taliban leadership (which have had sanctuary in southwest Pakistan since 2001) to discuss a peace deal with Afghanistan. So far the main roadblock is the fact that some Taliban factions refuse to consider peace, although a growing number of senior leaders are now willing to at least negotiate. In return Afghanistan is trying to be cooperative with Pakistan on Islamic terrorism related manners. This approach is unpopular with many Afghans who remember how often Pakistan has screwed Afghanistan and especially the fact that it was Pakistan (ISI) that invented the Taliban in the early 1990s and turned them loose in Afghanistan to end the civil war then underway and provide a new, pro-Pakistan, government. That did not work out too well for Pakistan or Afghanistan.

Afghanistan is also working directly with Pakistan to get the government and military there to shut down Pakistan based Islamic terrorists groups like the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani Network. These two groups have long enjoyed sanctuary in Pakistan as long they were not violent inside Pakistan. The Pakistani military and the ISI are the main supporters of the Afghan Taliban, Haqqani Network and other groups that only attack outside Pakistan (mostly inside Afghanistan and India). Getting the Pakistani government to agree to shut down these terror groups is easy, getting the Pakistani military to actually do it is another matter because in Pakistan the military and ISI can defy government orders and only a major change in public opinion towards Islamic terrorism will generate enough pressure to get the military and ISI to back down. That pressure has been building since 2001 as there has been more Islamic terrorist violence inside Pakistan and more Pakistanis turned against this religious violence. But pro-Islamic terror Pakistanis are still a large, stubborn and often violent minority. Eliminating support for Islamic terrorism in Pakistan is a slow process and no one has come up with a way to speed it up.

The Pakistani generals have made it clear that they are most definitely cooperating with Afghanistan more closely than ever before in dealing with Islamic terrorism along the border. The Afghans are getting more Pakistani intel and cooperation in going after Pakistani based Islamic terrorists who have been forced into Afghanistan by the Pakistani Army offensive in North Waziristan.  Despite this spirit of cooperation there are still a lot of people inside ISI who resist and believe more support for Islamic terrorism is what Pakistan needs.

There are still things in Pakistan that Afghanistan does not like. For example Pakistan has rounded up and deported over 2,000 Afghan refugees since December and threatens to expel most of the three million Afghans living in Pakistan. This is seen as payback for increased Islamic terror violence in Pakistan. Afghan Islamic terrorists are blamed for helping carry out the December Taliban attack on a Pakistani school that left 132 children dead. This attack by the Pakistani Taliban outraged most Pakistanis who demanded, among other measures, that Afghans in Pakistan illegally (or even as registered refugees) be expelled. Pakistan put a priority on getting rid of Afghan clerics because many of these clerics preach a harsh form of Islam that encourages support for Islamic terrorists. But only about 400 of those clerics have been expelled so far. Pakistani efforts to expel large numbers of Afghans are proving difficult. Many of those Afghans are important to the Pakistani economy and others will bribe or intimidate officials sent to supervise the expulsions. One thing Afghan and Pakistani officials agree on is the need to force radical clerics out of jobs in mosques and religious schools. If these guys want to go underground then that’s another problem. But these cheerleaders for Islamic terrorism do a lot more damage when they can operate freely and openly. Even Saudi Arabia recognizes this and does not tolerate misbehavior by clerics within its borders.

In Pakistan the government has executed 37 people (most of them Islamic terrorists) since it decided on December 17 to lift the six year old ban on executions. This change was because of that December terror attack on a school that killed 132 children. Pakistan has over 8,000 people in prison with death sentences. Nearly half of them are their because of terrorist activities and the government said it would execute many of them. Islamic terrorist groups are scrambling to try and bribe or intimidate judges to prevent the execution of at least some of the condemned.

Despite ISIL boasts of expanding into India, there is not much evidence of this. India revealed that they have arrested four ISIL “activists” in the last year but have encountered no terror attacks attributable to ISIL. India has banned ISIL and still finds most Islamic terrorist violence occurring in the northwest where Pakistan continues to train Islamic terrorists just across the border and then use the army to fire into India to distract border security so Islamic terrorists can sneak in. Several Pakistani Islamic terror groups that had joined ISIL last year have now quit, mainly because being a known ISIL affiliate brought more problems (increasing attention from the security forces) and not much benefit (no cash or other aid from ISIL in Syria).

India has a more urgent security problem in the eastern state of Chhattisgarh. Maoist rebels have been there for decades but have come under increasing police attack in the last decade and are gradually losing strength. This is important because the presence of Maoist gunmen is holding up nearly $100 billion of investments in the mineral resources of Chhattisgarh (most of Indian coal and iron ore for example). The Maoists maintain that these investments will result in much of the profits diverted to corrupt politicians and do little for the locals except provide some jobs. The corruption is more likely to be cured by a growing anti-corruption movement and the locals want the jobs and infrastructure (roads, electricity and much else) the investments will bring. Meanwhile the locals are getting angrier at Maoist violence against local businesses and even the railroad as part of extortion efforts. Maoists need cash to keep operating. Extortion is the easiest way to do it out in the countryside.

China has agreed to supply Pakistan with two more nuclear power plants, each generating 1,100 megawatts, for about $5 billion each. This would give Pakistan five nuclear power plants. China will provide loans to help Pakistan get this project going.

In Indian Kashmir three Islamic terrorists in army uniforms first hijacked a jeep then drove off and attacked a police station. The two attacks killed four and wounded ten security personnel. Two of the attackers were killed before the remaining man fled into the early morning darkness. Such suicidal attacks on army bases or police stations have occurred about once a year for the last few years.

March 19, 2015: In northwest Pakistan (Khyber) a roadside bomb wounded 11 soldiers.

March 18, 2015: In northwest Pakistan (Khyber) airstrikes killed 34 Islamic terrorists. Elsewhere in the northwest (Bajaur) a polio vaccination worker was murdered (and another wounded) by Islamic terrorists who believe vaccination is a Western plot to poison Moslem children.

March 17, 2015: In northwest Pakistan (Khyber) two female polio vaccination workers and one policeman were shot dead by Islamic terrorists.

March 16, 2015:  Pakistan revealed that earlier this month Saudi Arabia had asked Pakistan to join a Sunni Arab coalition against Iranian aggression and send a brigade of troops to help deal with the Shia rebellion in Yemen. Pakistan declined, for now, apparently not willing to antagonize their neighbor. Pakistan got a similar request in 1979 when Shia clergy led a revolution against the Iranian monarchy and talked of attacking the Sunni Arab states. For most of the 1980s Pakistan had an armor brigade stationed in Saudi Araba and served as a threat to eastern Iran, which borders Pakistan. Since then Pakistan and the Shia religious dictatorship in Iran have learned to get along. About 20 percent of Pakistanis are Shia and Pakistan has its hands full trying to halt Sunni Islamic terrorists from attacking those Shia. Those attacks anger Iran and Pakistan does not want to make that worse.

March 15, 2015: In eastern Pakistan (Lahore) Islamic terrorists used suicide bombers to attack two Christian churches, killing 17 people. The Taliban took credit. This triggered several days of riots and demonstrations in Lahore and the nearby cities of Faisalabad, Sargodha and Gujranwala. Two suspected Islamic terrorists were killed along with one demonstrator dead and over 70 demonstrators and police were injured. Highways were blocked for hours and there was a lot of property damage. This sort of Islamic terrorist violence is becoming more common.  Pakistan has recorded more than 5,000 deaths attributed to religious intolerance since 1990. These include violence against different forms of Islam (usually Shia) as well as against Christians, Hindus, Sikhs, Jews and others.  Most of these 5,000 Pakistani deaths have occurred since September 11, 2001. Religion based violence has been on the increase there starting in the 1970s when the Pakistani government basically legalized a lot of it. Since 2001 there have been over 20,000 terrorism related deaths in Pakistan, nearly all of the victims were other Moslems that Islamic terrorists accused of not being Islamic enough and thus, according to their murderous logic, not Moslems at all and deserving of death. Yet most of these deaths are not classified as resulting from religious intolerance. There is a widespread tendency by Moslems and non-Moslems alike to downplay the religious basis for Islamic terrorism. Why that is so is hard to say. Apparently it’s due to political correctness, the self-image most Moslems prefer to use and billions spent by oil-rich Arab states over several decades to support this worldview in the UN and international media.

Some two million refugees in northwestern Pakistan (North Waziristan, South Waziristan and Khyber) are beginning to return home. All these people were displaced by an army offensive against Islamic terrorists that began in June 2014. Half the refugees came from North Waziristan, which had been an Islamic terrorist sanctuary until mid-2014.

March 14, 2015: In northwest Pakistan (South Waziristan) shepherds found the bodies of 13 men who had been shot to death. Locals said the dead were among 35 people soldiers arrested in January on suspicion of supporting Islamic terrorists. The army said the dead men were working for the Taliban.

March 13, 2015: In northwest Pakistan (Khyber) airstrikes killed 48 Islamic terrorists.

A Pakistani court ordered the release from jail of prominent Islamic terrorist Zaki ur Rahman Lakhvi. That will not happen right away because the court merely dismissed charges arising from Lakhvi being involved in the 2008 terror attack in Mumbai India. Lakhvi will continue to be held for kidnapping. India accuses Pakistani courts of ignoring evidence proving that Lakhvi and six other Pakistani Islamic terrorists were responsible for planning the 2008 attacks. The 2008 attack on Mumbai was popular with many Pakistanis as are Islamic terrorist groups (like the one Lakhvi heads) that only attack India.

Pakistan successfully tested a locally made UAV that can fire laser guided missiles at ground targets. Pakistan plans to put this system into action as soon as possible.

March 12, 2015:  In northwest Pakistan (Khyber) a Taliban faction (Jamaat ul Ahrar) that left the Taliban in mid-2014 and joined ISIL has decided to rejoin the Taliban. The split occurred because Jamaat ul Ahrar believed it was not getting enough support (cash, weapons and supplies) from the Taliban. But Jamaat ul Ahrar found that ISIL was even less capable of supplying aid. Two other Pakistani terror groups also joined and left ISIL.

 March 11, 2015:  In southwest Pakistan (Baluchistan) two days of fighting near a natural gas field has left 13 tribal rebels dead. The Baluchi tribes want a larger share of the natural gas income and more autonomy.

In eastern Pakistan (Karachi) soldiers raided the headquarters of the MQM (one of the largest political parties in the country and a major participant in the violence in Karachi) arresting 20 people and seizing illegal weapons. The MQM said the raid was illegal and the seized weapons were legal (for protection against Islamic terrorist attack). The army and MQMs political rivals are angry at MQM for using street violence and general strikes (enforced with the threat of violence) to control much of Karachi. MQM is a major power in Sindh province (where it controls 41 percent of the seats in the provincial legislature). In the national parliament MQM controls nine percent of the seats. MQM is secular and has long been hostile to the army, particularly the pro-Islamic terrorist factions in the army and ISI. MQM was founded in the 1980s to protect the Muhajir (people who fled to Pakistan after India and Pakistan were created in 1947) from discrimination. Muhajir are nearly eight percent of the population of Pakistan. MQM activists came to be known as rough operators, who would use violence to get their way and often threatened to kill anyone who opposed them. Then again that sort of thing is not rare in Pakistan where politics is widely accepted as a blood sport. The government considers MQM a major source of all the violence in Karachi.

March 9, 2015: For the first time Pakistan successfully launched its Shaheen 3 IRBM ballistic missile. This has the longest range (2,700 kilometers) of any Pakistani missile and can reach all of India.

March 1, 2015: There were 35 Islamic terrorist bomb attacks in Pakistan during February, leaving 68 dead and 176 wounded. The deaths were down 30 percent from January. Bombs (suicide or remote-controlled) are the favorite weapon of the terrorists, followed by shootings.

February 28, 2015: India increased by 11 percent (to $40 billion) its defense budget for 2015. While more than five times what Pakistan spends it is less than 30 percent of what China spends on the military. Moreover India considers Chinese economic expansion (via investments and construction of new facilities the Chinese Navy can use) a major threat as it increases Chinese military capabilities in the Indian Ocean. Of particular interest to India are an oil pipeline in Burma (with a port for large tankers, as well as warships) and another port in Pakistan, near the Iranian border. China has long been a major trading partner for many nations bordering the Indian Ocean and uses a growing fleet of Chinese owned merchant ships to move the goods to and from China. As a result China know a lot about ports throughout the region and Chinese ships are a familiar and welcome sight. That makes it easier to get permission for warships to visit.

In southwest Pakistan Iranian intelligence officials apparently provided the tip to Pakistani police that led to the arrest of a wanted (on both sides of the border) Baluchi Sunni terrorist leader; Salam Rigi.  The arrest took place when police stopped a bus that Rigi was on and arrested him. Iran apparently expects Pakistan to turn over Rigi so Iran can try (and probably execute) the leaders of Baluchi Sunni rebels in southeast Iran.

 

 

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