India-Pakistan: Power Without Responsibility

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October 22, 2012: In Pakistan outrage over the attack on Malala Yousufzai is ebbing and the military is playing down calls for an offensive on the Taliban sanctuary in North Waziristan. The 15 year old Malala Yousufzai has been flown to Britain, where she can receive better care and protection from Taliban threats to hunt her down and finish the job. The Pakistani Taliban insist they had the right to kill Malala Yousufzai, a 15 year old girl who had, over the past four years, been an articulate opponent against Taliban efforts to prevent girls from receiving an education. The Taliban responded to the media uproar by declaring war on journalists (especially foreign ones) and promising murder attempts against the most troublesome journalists. This tends to limit how long a media uproar over Islamic terrorism can last in Pakistan.

The Pakistani military (and the ISI intelligence agency) continue to get away with protecting Islamic terrorists. While the Pakistani Supreme Court is issuing orders for the military and intelligence commanders to stop interfering in politics, actually putting these officers in front of a court is another matter. Yes, the military is losing ground, but it is still in control. The military will not give up its power and economic benefits easily and the Pakistani people are not willing to go to war with their own armed forces over the issue. Moreover, decades of government-supported pro-Islamic terrorist propaganda has made it easier for the Islamic conservative clergy to build large followings. Many Pakistanis support the attack on Maulana Fazlullah but kept quiet about that because of the local and international uproar. The Islamic conservatives are a minority in Pakistan but an armed and murderous one. Few Pakistanis want to confront these fanatics. Some Pakistani officials are now blaming the United States for the attack on Malala Yousufzai, because the man who sent the attackers has been hiding out in Afghanistan for the last three years. Afghanistan and the U.S. refuse to go after all the Pakistani Taliban hiding out in Afghanistan until the Pakistanis shut down terrorists sanctuaries in Pakistan (Quetta and North Waziristan). Pakistan refuses to do that, even as they demand that terrorists hostile to Pakistan be hunted down in Afghanistan. This sort of attitude angers Afghans, as does the fact that Pakistanis don’t care what Afghans think.

In eastern India the campaign against the Maoists continues to wear the leftist rebels down. Manpower shortages mean Maoists are more frequently kidnapping teenage students and forcing them to join. This is unpopular with parents and most of those taken. The Maoists are also more dependent on forced contributions (of food, money, and other aid) in rural areas. Despite popular support for Maoist goals (elimination of unjust and corrupt practices in rural India), there is growing hostility towards the rebels. The Maoists have been at it for decades and have done more harm than good. The current government offensive is capturing and killing a lot of the Maoist leadership and forcing the rebels deeper into sparsely populated areas.

India recently announced it would cut its order for the new T-50 Russian fighter from 200 to 144 aircraft. The T-50 is the Russian answer to the U.S. F-22/F-35 and delivery is supposed to be by 2017. India does not expect to see T-50 until 2020 and is not as enthusiastic about this project as it once was. India is supplying much of the development money for this aircraft and wants to customize the ones it gets (or builds). On the plus side (for the Russians) India has ordered 200 more BrahMos cruise missiles and 10,000 Invar anti-tank missiles (that are launched from the 125mm gun of the T-90 tank). This deal involves India manufacturing an additional 15,000 Invars.

October 20, 2012: For the first time India is officially recognizing the 1,383 soldiers killed during the 1962 war with China. This conflict, over a border dispute high in the Himalayan mountains, was a victory for China (suffering 2,500 casualties) over India (suffering 8,300 casualties). It was a massive surprise attack by the Chinese that tore through Indian defenses and overran a lot of Indian territory. But after a month the Chinese declared a ceasefire, withdrew from most of the land they had captured and a peace was quickly negotiated. India lost 38,000 hectares (95,000 acres) of territory and China continued to claim another 90,000 hectares. The Chinese now had better military positions on the border. China has renewed its claims on Indian territory over the last few years.

In Pakistan, near the tribal territory city of Peshawar, two roadside bombs went off, but there were no injuries.

October 18, 2012: Pakistani authorities believe they know who two of three men who attacked Malala Yousufzai are. One of them (Attaullah) had been arrested for Taliban activity in 2009, but was released. His family has long been active in supporting the Taliban. Police do not know where Attaullah is but suspect he may have fled to Afghanistan (where the Swat faction of the Taliban have bases) or North Waziristan (which is a sanctuary for Islamic terrorists). The head of the Swat Taliban (Maulana Fazlullah) fled to Afghanistan in 2009, after the army drove the Islamic terrorists out of the Swat valley.

In the southwestern Pakistani city of Quetta a bicycle bomb went off (via remote control) near an army patrol, killing three soldiers and wounding ten other people.

In India (south Bihar State) a Maoist roadside bomb killed six police and wounded nine.

October 16, 2012: In Kashmir Pakistani troops fired mortar shells across the border and killed three civilians. The Pakistanis said they were responding to fire from the Indian side. Pakistani troops on the Line of Control (which separates Indian and Pakistani held Kashmir) violate the ceasefire frequently and have been heard firing machine-guns at border guard posts several times in this area over the last two weeks. Usually the Pakistanis avoid firing at civilians, and this incident may have just been an accident. But the Pakistanis will never admit it and continue to insist they have justification for firing across the border. They don’t but continue to do it anyway.

In the southwestern Pakistani city of Quetta, a Taliban gunman killed a member of a medical team that was vaccinating children against polio. The UN has warned Pakistan that unless there were security guarantees for its medical personnel the polio vaccination program in dangerous areas would not be resumed. Thousands of children would not be vaccinated because Islamic militants have been attacking the medical personnel this year, killing three so far. In several countries (especially Nigeria, Afghanistan, and Pakistan) Islamic radicals believe polio vaccinations are part of a secret Western plan to harm Moslem children and attack the vaccination teams.

The Pakistani government has offered a million dollar reward for the death or capture of Ahsanullah Ahsan, the official Pakistani Taliban spokesman who has been issuing statements justifying the attack on Malala Yousufzai and calls for further attacks to finish the job.

October 15, 2012: In Pakistan, near the tribal territory city of Peshawar, Taliban attacked a police check point and killed seven police, beheading three of them. Over a hundred police a year die in attacks like this.

India has been asked to join with Russia in forming a more vigorous anti-terrorism effort after NATO leaves Afghanistan in 2014. While American forces may remain, Russia sees drug gangs and Islamic radicals becoming more powerful in Afghanistan and providing bases for Islamic terrorists groups who operate against India and Russia, as well as the West in general. India is already increasing its counter-terror efforts in Central Asia, and Russia is simply offering to join forces to become more effective. It was earlier believed that Russia might try to work with Pakistan against Islamic terrorists, but apparently the Russians concluded that Pakistan was too sympathetic to Islamic radicals to be an effective ally against international Islamic terrorism. Let China (a longtime ally of Pakistan) worry about Pakistani support for terrorism. Russia has been a major trading partner with and arms supplier to India for over half a century and both countries are quite energetic in fighting Islamic terrorism.

Maulana Fazlullah was flown to Britain for better medical treatment and better protection from additional Taliban attacks.

October 14, 2012: In India (southern Chhattisgarh State) a Maoist ambush wounded four policemen. The leftist rebels are trying to stop road building projects in the area, as the new roads make it easier for police to get at the Maoist camps.

In the Pakistani tribal territories (Upper Orakzai) six Taliban were killed when they clashed with soldiers.

October 13, 2012: In the Pakistani tribal territories (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa) a car bomb went off outside the headquarters of a pro-government tribal militia, killing at least 16 people.

October 12, 2012: In Pakistan a group of fifty Sunni Moslem clerics issued a fatwa (religious ruling) condemning the Taliban interpretation of Islam. This sort of thing often results in Taliban death squads sent after the clerics who disagree with the Taliban.

 

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