Friday, January 07, 2011

Review: Pakistan’s Counterterrorism Strategy: Separating Friends from Enemies

AYESHA SIDDIQA "Pakistan’s Counterterrorism Strategy: Separating Friends from Enemies" concludes with this statement
"The subsequent sociopolitical anarchy in Pakistan adds to the problem, combining collectively to mean that the United States cannot expect Islamabad to fight the war on Washington’s terms, whatever they may be in the coming months and years."

This is a well written article (as expected) even though AYESHA SIDDIQA narrowly avoids bringing up the Taliban bogeyman that has been the bread and butter of other journalists like AHMED RASHEED. The basic thrust is still the same, Pakistan Army is preoccupied with India (true). It is unfortunate that the third harbingers of dread HUSSEIN HAQQANI has now joined the dark side and is now apologizing for Pak Army actions.

The article is written with a PENTAGON mindset, for example, " The future of U.S. military operations in South Asia depends on the convergence of policies between the United States and Pakistan, but since the war began in 2001, interpreting Islamabad’s counter-terrorism policy has been difficult." There is a feeble mention of the effect of drone attacks (one mention), and no mention of the Pakistan Army losses in morale and life (as much as 5500 have died in Waziristan operations). Hardly a mention of exit strategy and for someone who shows scathing criticism for Pakistan Army, Ms Siddiqa shows tolerance for the US Army 10 year occupation of AF-PAK region.

At the same time, I agree that the starting point for Pakistan is to "address the problem of changing the basic narrative and socioeconomic conditions that drive militancy in the first place." The militancy in Pakistan is a growing threat, a phenomenon that is not restricted to Taliban, but what I term the Biryani Mullahs, the TV evangelists like Amir Liaqat who spew hatred that ends up in targeting and persecution of minorities like Ahmedis, Sufi Shrines and Christians. However, this narrative can't be developed while a war of attrition is launched again Pakistanis population in Waziristan. It should however be launched by banning and arresting any public leaders who spew hatred. In addition, killing of noncombatants and civilians has to be disowned by Pakistani religious established as Ms Siddiqa cites, "A renowned Muslim scholar, Javed Ahmed Ghamdi, argues that unless Muslim ideological theoreticians are able to admit that the Qur’an prohibits killing all non-combatants be they in Israel, Palestine, Pakistan, India, or the United States it will be difficult to fight terrorism successfully."

This has continued to be a Pakistani and Muslim ideological challenge, and becomes increasingly murky because of the presence of US Armed forces in Afghanistan and factors like
a) Frequent Drone attacks in Pakistan
b) Consistent cross border raids by US and Afghan forces
c) Abuse of Pakistani roads, and supply systems by ISAF convoys
d) Loss of Pakistani civilians caught in this cross-fire of Pakistan Army indiscriminate shelling and militants use of civilians
e) Pakistan army's losses

A better assessment of the situation has been by Ann Wilkens, former Swedish ambassador to Pakistan & Afghanistan, in her report called "Smoke gets in your eyes"

(Photo is from Tariq Ali's book, The Duel)

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Stop funding my failed state

Fatima Bhutto wrote an article today asking US to stop funding a failed state

Another offense has been started by the Pakistan Army at the behest of our liberal elites and American ma$ter$. Gunships, tanks, artillery and probably the use of cluster ammunition. Which begs the question, if the Americans could not dislodge the Taliban from Afghanistan with their professional army and technology, how can Pak Army do that with low morale?

This offense will displace more civilians, the Taliban will merge back into civilian population and reemerge after three months with more vicious treatment of all who don't adhere to their puritanical philosophies.

End result, more civilian casualties, and more hatred from the religious Lizards and more dismay by our elitist peacocks.

The reality is that Pakistan will fall to Islamists in the next decade. The nukes might be dismantled but it will remain a pariah state . . . and our elites will be marginalized and end up living abroad dissociating themselves from the Pakistan regime like the Iranian, Vietnamese and Cuban communities. 

Monday, April 27, 2009

Citizens ask Pak army to defeat Taliban

A letter by Salaman Ahmed of Junoon is being presented to the the President of Pakistan. The letter asks the Pakistan Army to defeat the Taliban. The letter is here

This is a bad idea maybe with well meaning intentions. I have already debated this on facebook. 

Military action against Taliban will not work. Pakistan Army has fought disastrous campaigns against Baloch insurgency, with MRD in Sindh, with Karachi in MQM and recently in WANA. And lest we forget, a certain insurgency in 1971 in Bangladesh. What koolaid are our concerned citizens drinking? Maybe similar to what israel was drinking when it went to confront Hammas?

Pakistan Army can't stop the Taliban, their ranks don't support the fight. All they can do is create a bigger Humanitarian disaster and more sympathies for the Talib. There are a 1 Million + refugees in Pakistan because of US drone attacks and Pak Army action. Writing letters to one's Army (especially with sordid histroy like ours) is a dangeorusly fascist agenda. 

Taliban can only advance into Pashtun backwater areas, there fewer suicide bombs in Peshawar (ANP controlled) and Karachi (MQM controlled). No Army required. Secondly, the US drone attacks have to stop, they cause the attacks on police/Army cantonment in Lahore/Pindi. Third and final, the battle for Pashtun soul is a theological, except our biryani eating mullahs are too scared to confront the Taliban ideology.

South Bay Mobilization had a very good event at De Anza college last Thursday. Coverage here http://karachiphoto blog.blogspot. com/

Insurgencies never die out by force, only by poltical and social will.  

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Kala Pul North American premiere

All news out of Karachi is bad

Who: Black Crow Productions and Third I San Francisco South Asian Film Festival

What: Kala Pul – The Black Bridge, a 40-minute narrative by Saqib Mausoof

When and Where: Thursday, November 13th, 2008, 7:00 pm at Brava Theater

(San Francisco CA) October 23, 2008 -- Witness an authentic representation of three days in the lives the inhabitants of Karachi, a teeming metropolis of over fifteen million and the largest city in Pakistan, a frontline state in the war on terrorism. The film has been reviewed as "Karachi born writer Saqib Mausoof has taken a different route with Kala Pul – The Black Bridge producing results not unlike Satiyajit Ray’s Distant Thunder

 The plot resolves around Arsalan, a fugitive, who returns to his native Karachi, to investigate the violent death of his younger brother, blamed on religious fundamentalists. In the ensuing days he discovers that in a post 9/11 world the gritty megalopolis sits on the fault line of modernity and militancy.

 Kala Pul is produced by bay area producer Muder Kothari and was shot in 2006 by Oscar nominated Director of Photography Markus Huersch on location in Karachi, Pakistan. It features the music of Dr Das, founding member of Asian Dub Foundation, Janaka Selekta and various Pakistani ghazal singers. Post production for Kala Pul is done by San Francisco based Zoetrope Aubry productions. 

Tickets can be ordered online at or purchased at door for $10. 

Additional information at


Friday, March 28, 2008

World Wide food shortage

Food shortage across South Asia (Pakistan, India, Bangladesh) are common knowledge these days as rising inflation makes it difficult for the average man to buy two meals for his family. My recent visit to Karachi, in took me to a lower income locality where every corner congregation was complaining about food prices, from onions to ghee, from roti to rice.

The knee jerk reaction in Pakistan is to blame government policies, which might be accountable for the massive power shortage, but rather helpless in lieu of the world wide food shortage which have spread well beyond Africa's sub-Sahara region. Two articles by the London Economist on food shortages in Philippines and Egypt present a much more worrying and almost apocalyptic view of the future.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Israel Gaza Policy (No Child left alive)

The London economist in their usual "balanced view" after a 125 dead Palestinian including 11 children. However, I found this statement rather interesting, is this an under handed smirk at Israel?

"Certainly the Palestinians’ Qassam rockets took an unusually heavy toll on Israel in February, killing ONE person in Sderot"

Read More

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Rushdie's Shelter of the world

Sir Salman Rushdie's new short published in New Yorker. Read

The story started with brilliance but then he shrink wrapped anecdotes from our part of the world into flowery English prose. Add a dash of orientalism, a pinch of eroticism, and his Hobson Jobson of a vocabulary and Rushdie himself becomes Jahanpanna to literature. The compression of the lead character, Akbar, was well represented with the royal 'we', the barbarian ancestors and the mythical Jodha (the perfect wife exists in fantasy?) but the arc of the story vanishes into an oblivion of scrotum scratches.

I still think he is a great writer, a master of his craft, but here he became too lazy to even complete his own fantasy. A disappointing finale, maybe he was impressed by the Sopranos, or maybe he is holding out for a novel.
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