India-Pakistan: The Republic Of Fear

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July 15, 2012:  Pakistan is pressuring NATO to clear out hundreds of Pakistani Taliban who have taken sanctuary in the eastern Afghan provinces of Nuristan and Kunar. NATO and the Afghans are reluctant to do this while Pakistan maintains a terrorist sanctuary on their side of the border (North Waziristan) and refuses to shut it down. The Islamic terrorists in North Waziristan have long made attacks into Afghanistan, something Pakistan simply denies. This Pakistani hypocrisy has been going on for decades and the Afghans, Indians, and Western nations, who are on the receiving end of Islamic terrorism from Pakistan, are beyond the end of their patience over the issue. Frustrated by this refusal of the victims to go along with Pakistani delusions, the Pakistanis have been firing rockets and artillery into Afghanistan, where they believe Pakistani Taliban bases are. This has killed a lot of Afghan civilians and caused more anger at the Pakistanis. Efforts to negotiate some kind of compromise keep tripping over Pakistani refusal to admit that they are providing sanctuary for Islamic terrorists. Meanwhile, Pakistan is having growing problems with Islamic terrorists who used to be under the control of the military (and the ISI intelligence agency). That meant that these groups did not attack Pakistani targets. That has changed in the last decade, and many Islamic terror groups have gone to war against Pakistan. This would seem stupid, as Pakistan offers sanctuary for Islamic terrorists, but the point of Islamic radicalism is to be righteous and kill those who are not sufficiently Islamic.

Once the Pakistani government agreed in 2001, to support the American campaign against al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan, Islamic terror groups in Pakistan came under increasing pressure by their more radical (and less rational) members to declare war on Pakistan. That trend continues, as does Pakistani support (by the military, ISI, many politicians, and their followers) for Islamic terrorism. Pakistani Islamic radicals run several large political parties and have lots of allies in the military and ISI. The main reason for this is that many Pakistanis still believe that Islamic radicalism (as in a religious dictatorship to run the country) would deal with the corruption and misrule that have created so much misery and poverty in the country. Those who oppose this are considered enemies of Islam and subject to attack. Even senior (and incorrupt) leaders who speak out against Islamic radicalism are murdered and the killers are praised, not punished. Most Pakistanis are either believers or too terrified to object. Pakistan has become the Republic Of Fear that has turned meaningful reform into a capital crime. The military, which has frequently mutinied and taken control of the government, is no longer seen as a viable solution to Pakistan's problems. For half the time since Pakistan was created in 1947, the army has been in charge. Pakistanis have noted that the military was as corrupt and inept (although more disciplined) than the elected politicians. The result is growing popularity for a religious dictatorship. But many Pakistanis have noted that this form of government has not worked in Iran or Sudan and was a disaster in Afghanistan during the 1990s. The country remains politically divided, corrupt, mismanaged, and violent. The outlook is not good.  

An example of how religious intolerance works in Pakistan can be seen in the treatment of Abdus Salam (Pakistan's only winner of the Nobel Prize). Salam won the prize in 1979 for physics. His work made possible the current search for the Higgs Boson, a particle that, when better understood, will explain much more about how the universe actually operates. But Abdus Salam is virtually ignored, and often maligned, in Pakistan. That's because he belonged to the Ahmadi (Ahmadiyya) sect of Islam. To Islamic radicals the Ahmadi are considered heretics and are often attacked and even killed in Pakistan because of their beliefs. There are four million Ahmadi in Pakistan, and there has been sporadic violence against the Ahmadi for over a century, and groups like al Qaeda encourage even more killings. Abdus Salam moved to Britain to continue his research in the 1950s, but returned to Pakistan in the 1960s, to establish Pakistan's nuclear power and weapons program. Although Salam left Pakistan in 1974, when Ahmadi Islam was outlawed, he continued working on the Pakistani nuclear program. He returned to Pakistan in 1979, to receive praise for being the nation's first Nobel Prize winner. But he had to leave quickly. In the 1970s, Islamic radicalism was given massive government support and with that came more violence against Amadi Pakistanis. When Salam died in 1996, his body was brought from Britain to be buried in Pakistan. But shortly thereafter a judge ordered that "Moslem" be removed from his gravestone. Despite his scientific prominence, Islamic radicals have seen to it that Salam's name is rarely mentioned in Pakistani textbooks or the media in general. Pakistanis have to consult non-Pakistani media to find out about the accomplishments of Abdus Salam. Amadi Moslems are still murdered for their beliefs in Pakistan and the government does little to stop it.

Although Pakistan has reopened its border for NATO supply trucks headed for Afghanistan, the majority of NATO supplies will continue to come from the north. That's more expensive but NATO does not trust Pakistan to keep the border open, and Islamic radical politicians in Pakistan are calling for demonstrations to close the border again. This might happen despite the fact that the United States made it clear that as long as the border is closed, American aid to Pakistan will be halted as well. By opening the border Pakistan is now receiving $1.1 billion in blocked aid. Pakistan insists it should receive even more money, but the U.S. refuses to pay those funds which are based on corrupt practices. Much of the aid (military and economic) given to Pakistan is stolen by senior military and government officials. American attempts to stop the stealing have angered the Pakistanis, who deny any such crimes.

In Eastern India (Chhattisgarh) police commanders and local politicians are under pressure to reveal exactly what happened on June 29th, when 17 civilians were killed when counter-terror police approached a village and mistook a group of civilians for armed Maoist rebels. At first the police tried to claim that the dead civilians were Maoists but the lie did not survive long.

July 13, 2012:  Acting on a tip, Indian troops in Kashmir hiked ten hours to the site of an Islamic terrorist hideout. There was no one there but there were lots of weapons (including a 60mm mortar) and ammunition, equipment, and bomb making materials (including 5 kg/11 pounds of explosives). Islamic terrorists from Pakistan are having a harder time getting across the border and once in Kashmir find more of the local Moslems will inform on them, rather than help them. As a result, the Islamic terrorists spend most of their time trying to avoid the security forces and find safe places to hide and plan new attacks. There have been a lot fewer attacks in the last few years.

July 12, 2012: In Lahore, Pakistan ten Taliban gunmen attacked a hotel where police trainers were staying and killed them in a quick, early morning attack and got away unhurt. On the Afghan border (Bajaur) about 30 Pakistani Taliban operating from bases in Afghanistan raided a Pakistani village and took 14 civilian hostage. This was an attempt to terrorize the anti-Taliban militia that based in the village. But the raid led to a fight with soldiers that left at least a dozen dead. The Taliban raiders then abandoned their captives and fled back into Afghanistan.

The Pakistani Taliban was driven out of Pakistan by the army after an attempt to replace the government in the tribal territories with a religious dictatorship. The Pakistani Taliban began this effort five years ago and after about a year the army struck back. The Pakistani civilians in the area were, and still are, unhappy with the corrupt and ineffective civilian government. During the months that the Taliban were in charge, they found that religious government was not much of an improvement. It was different but miserable and oppressive in its own way.

July 11, 2012:  Afghanistan called on Pakistan to stop firing rockets across the border at suspected bases for Pakistani Taliban. In eastern Kunar province over 800 rockets have been fired in the last few weeks, forcing 500 civilians to flee their homes. The area is thinly populated and it's unclear if the area is, indeed, home to Pakistani Taliban camps. If so, the Islamic terrorists could easily have moved after the first few rockets landed near their camp. Pakistan denies firing any rockets, despite the ample physical evidence. ISI blames the rocket fire on Islamic terrorists on the Pakistani side who are trying to make the Pakistani government look bad.

July 10, 2012:  The Indian Army is asking the government for $182 billion, over the next five years, to modernize the armed forces.  This would nearly double India's defense budget and the generals are not likely to get all they want. The army wants more night-fighting equipment, IFVs (Infantry Fighting Vehicles), more aircraft (especially helicopters), and new equipment for the mountain troops. The army cites the new threat from China (over disputed border areas) and the continuing threat from Pakistan.

July 9, 2012: In eastern Pakistan (100 kilometers north of Lahore, near the Indian border) a group of Islamic terrorists attacked soldiers and policemen searching a remote area for a missing pilot. Six soldiers and a policeman were killed. It's unusual for Islamic terrorists to operate so far from the tribal territories along the Afghan border.

July 6, 2012: In southwest Pakistan (Baluchistan) a bus carrying Shia pilgrims (on their way to Iran) was attacked and 18 Shia killed. Sunni Islamic radicals, like al Qaeda and the Taliban, consider Shia Moslems to be heretics.

In the capital of Baluchistan a bomb went off at a political rally, leaving six dead.

In Pakistan's terrorist sanctuary, North Waziristan, two American UAV missile attacks left 21 dead.

July 5, 2012: The Pakistan border reopened for NATO supply trucks going to and from Afghanistan.

 

 

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