Clergy and intelligence agencies are playing dirty game on the blood of innocent Pashtun

We strongly condemn the inhuman incident of car bomb in Peshawar city in which more than 100 innocent civilian mostly women and children martyred and more than 200 seriously wounded. Pashtun Democratic Council consider it as a genocide of the Pashtun nation by the barbarian negative and anti-Pashtun forces which are bent upon to annihilate this nation but one has to understand that neither Changez khan nor Sikandar have ever succeeded to annihilate this nation. Those terrorists who are playing as agents of the conspirators who are sitting miles away from the pashtun area should try to understand that playing havoc with own nation is treachery. Today Pashtun ask the question as to who are doing this barbarism with them. The answer is simple that only and only Pakistani establishment, military, ISI and their partner militants (Terrorists) are responsible for this enmity against Pashtun. Pakistani religious clerics and religious parties are trying to hoodwink the people and international community about the real situations. In Pakistan mulla-military have formed an alliance to wipe out the pashtun. Mulla has been working for the nefarious designs of the ISI and establishment. ISI and Pakistan never ever want to see a prosperous, developed and peaceful democratic Afghanistan and for this purpose these two forces with the connivance of some hidden forces have joined hands to sabotage the development in the region. Today we hear religious parties in Pakistan asking Americans to go back to America from Afghanistan and at same time they denounce Lugar bill. American forces are sitting in more than 100 countries of the world but no where there happens any violence or opposition to American forces but here in Pakistan clergy is mobilizing people against the Americans and international community. It means that Pakistan through its clergy sees the dream to the capture Afghanistan after the departure of the Americans. All the nationalist and democratic Secular political and tribal Pashtun are being or have been assassinated by the notorious hands of the terrorists. The sole aim of self made insurgency in Pashtun region is the handi work of the intelligence agencies and it is quite foolish to believe that Americans and Indians are doing it. No one except the Pakistani intelligence agencies are responsible. This is just to befool the people and international community and divert the attention from the real players in region. Today we see that a particular religious party Jumati Islami, known as B-team of Pakistani intelligence agency ISI has been protesting Kerry Lugar bill. They both know that the bill in question is meant to develop the social sector in Pashtun areas including FATA and malakand, Swat etc. When this religious party was in government in Musharraf era then there was no hue and cry over such donations. But when Americans made their mind to spend the money on development and for the betterment of the People of Pashtun region then religious parties started hue and cry saying that now the dooms day will fall on them. This is once again a conspiracy against the pashtun and they do not love to see Pashtun be educated and prosperous. They are doing this nefarious job to keep the pashtun backward and ignorant; their sole aim is to use them against foreign forces in Afghanistan. Now international community including Americans should realize the gravity of situations and leave Pashtun be their friends. Americans do know where are the centers of terrorism? They are situated in Punjab. Then what are the hurdles which stop Americans and international community to hit the real centers of terrorism. Only fighting against Pashtun will not prove to be real solution. Unless and until the sources are targeted the problem will not be solved and this process will continue. Pashtin will be dying, American and NATO forces will be martyred in Afghanistan and the real conspirators will get dollars and lead a comfortable life. Oh, Americans and international community for God sake leave Pashtun to lead a peaceful life and go to the real places from where the terrorism originates, I mean Punjab and Islambad. Fault does not lie in Pashtun region rather it is in Islamabad. We once again condemn the attacks on innocent Pashtun and demand of international community to come behind terrorists and annihilate their nests in Punjab and befriend Pashtun which is the only and real solution if interested. We condole the death of all those Pashtun women, children and young who embraced martyrdom in suicide attacks in Peshawar and other parts of the Pashtunkhwa. The clothes of Pashtun women and children were hanging through the walls of high buildings and most of our women were made nude and naked but still Pashtun and international community both are slumbering in ignorance. We Pashtun know our enemy well and enemy is still busy making conspiracies against us.

(The Writer is Chairman Pashtun Democratic Council and can be reached at his email,

Pakistan Doubles Down Against the Taliban

The letter was simple and direct. "To the brave and honorable people of the Mehsud tribe," it started, in both Urdu and Pashtu, the two languages of Pakistan's troubled tribal areas along the border with Afghanistan. "The operation [by the Pakistan army] is not meant to target the valiant and patriotic Mehsud tribes but [is] aimed at ridding them of the elements who have destroyed peace in the region." Dropped from helicopters above the mountain scrubland of South Waziristan the day before 28,000 Pakistani troops went in to wrest control of a militant stronghold, the letter was signed by General Ashfaq Kayani, chief of the Pakistani military. To drive home the point that Pakistan's most powerful man was speaking directly to a people largely ignored by the country's laws and politics, his photograph, flanked by the Pakistani flag and the crossed-swords insignia of the military, was splashed across the top of the note.

The unprecedented letter, along with an army operation in a part of the country that has seen little of the central government since Pakistan's birth in 1947, signals an extraordinary about-face for the nation's military establishment. For decades, Pakistan's armed forces have been obsessed with India, its foe in four wars, rather than the enemy within. But is the change of heart enough to stop Pakistan's endless death spiral toward becoming a nuclear-armed failed state?

No general wants to take war to his own people. Kayani was forced to do so by a surge of violence radiating from the South Waziristan headquarters of the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), a group of several militant organizations seething with grievances against the state and influenced in part by al-Qaeda. The 10,000-strong TTP, which was led by Baitullah Mehsud until he was killed by a U.S. drone in August, is largely made up of members of his Mehsud tribe, though an increasing number of militants from the Pakistani heartland of Punjab, along with an estimated 1,500 Uzbek and Arab fighters, have joined the force. Since Mehsud's deputy, Hakimullah Mehsud, assumed leadership in August, there has been an escalation of violence throughout the country that has seen dozens of suicide-bomb attacks, lethal raids on security installations — including the army headquarters — and more than 200 deaths.

The attacks, which have targeted an Islamic university, shopping centers and police academies, have done the seemingly impossible: turned Pakistani public opinion against militants who had formerly been considered holy warriors fighting international forces in Afghanistan. That has allowed the army to go in with popular support. "This operation is not against an area or a tribe," says military spokesman Major General Athar Abbas. "The objective is to regain the space lost last year when Baitullah Mehsud declared war on the state of Pakistan."

An Ideal Place for Jihad
Truthfully, Pakistan never had that space to begin with. South Waziristan is part of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), which are governed by political officers rather than elected officials. The people of FATA have few constitutionally protected rights and privileges. Central government's presence is minimal; so is development. It is the ideal place for a militant group seeking to set up an Islamic caliphate from which to launch a global jihad.

Three times, the army has gone into South Waziristan, only to be forced into ignoble retreat. But Kayani, 57, seems determined to win this time. He is leading his army into a war that is both guerrilla in nature — the militants know the terrain and have local support — and conventional in its goals. "For the military, the goal is limited: to degrade and destroy these elements and not let them use South Waziristan as a sanctuary from which to spread terrorism in the rest of Pakistan," says Rifaat Hussain, of Islamabad's Quaid-i-Azam University. "But for the TTP, it is a battle for survival. If they lose, the whole movement is finished."
It is not the first time Kayani has led an operation against militants. This summer he fought an offshoot of the TTP in the Swat Valley, where a failed peace accord had encouraged the local Taliban to attempt a takeover of an entire district. That experience proved the turning point for the army. Intelligence operatives revealed the extensive links between the Swat militants and those fighting for Baitullah Mehsud, fueling fears of a nationwide insurgency. The army "realized that the gains they had made in Swat would not be sustainable unless and until they go after these guys in South Waziristan," says Hussain. "The government does not want to be in the position where these guys have made themselves so strong that the Taliban take root in Punjab, because then the game is up."

For all its intentions to root out insurgency, the military has been forced to make risky deals. Most civilians have fled the area of fighting in South Waziristan, enabling the army to use extensive airpower against militants without fear of collateral damage. But there are only 28,000 ground troops in an area the size of Rhode Island, fighting a well-fortified enemy that has bunkers, ammunition depots, land mines and an extensive network of caves. To prevent TTP fighters from escaping over the border to Afghanistan, the army has reached out to what it perceives to be the lesser evil — militant groups that may have fought the government in the past but that detest the TTP more.
As recently as February, the leader of one such group, Maulvi Nazir of the Ahmedzai Wazir tribe, joined forces with Baitullah Mehsud and declared war on Islamabad, Kabul and Washington. The alliance ended with Mehsud's death, and Nazir resumed his tribe's long rivalry with the Mehsuds. Both Nazir and Hafiz Gul Bahadur, another local militant, have entered into nonaggression pacts with the army and have been promised money and reconstruction projects in exchange for their neutrality. The Haqqani network, led by former Afghan warlord Jalaluddin Haqqani — one of the U.S.'s most-wanted militants, whose network has concentrated its efforts on attacking NATO forces in Afghanistan — is also expected to remain passive throughout the operation, military officials tell TIME. Army spokesman Abbas defends these agreements. "If you have to defeat the main serpent, would you like to isolate that from the others or deal with them all at once?" he asks. Hussain thinks the tactic makes sense in the short term but worries that in time, the groups that are neutral now may just become a new threat. Baitullah Mehsud, he points out, was once an ally of the Pakistani military.

The Pakistani army's relationship with its lesser-evil militants is unlikely to please the U.S. These are groups that have trained their guns principally on U.S. and NATO troops across the border in Afghanistan and have assisted Afghan Taliban who have established bases on the Pakistani side of the border. But Shuja Nawaz, director of the Atlantic Council's South Asia Center, says the army is not strong enough to take on the Afghan Taliban based in Pakistan and their friends in the tribal regions. The army, he says, doesn't have "the numbers or the equipment to do that."
It does, actually; it's just that most of Pakistan's army is still based far from its western border with Afghanistan, along its eastern frontier with India. The military establishment has belatedly recognized the threat posed by internal militants, but it is difficult to overestimate Pakistan's continuing paranoia about India. Many commanders serving today cut their teeth during wars with India and remain convinced that the country is bent on destabilizing Pakistan and taking back all the disputed territory of Kashmir. That is why analysts like Nawaz say the only real solution to Pakistan's militancy is a regional détente with India. That, he says, would allow "Pakistan to divert resources — not just troops but monetary resources — to the civil sector for better governance."
Maybe. On the other hand, Pakistan's civilian officials have hardly done much to improve lives when they have had the chance. It was governmental neglect that enabled militants to establish a foothold in the tribal areas in the first place. Unless the government can follow the army's offensive with development, infrastructure, jobs and justice, extremist groups will always thrive in the tribal areas. Taking the battle to the militants in South Waziristan, says Lieut. General Ali Muhammad Jan Aurakzai, the former governor of Pakistan's North-West Frontier Province, "is a requirement, but not a solution — a first field dressing to a battle wound." The solution, as is usually the case in regions that breed insurgencies — and not just in Pakistan — is better governance. No sign of that yet.

Clinton's Pakistan visit reveals widespread distrust of U.S.

We don't really trust your country.

No matter how hard Clinton tried to reassure audiences in Lahore and Islamabad with talk of providing economic aid where it's needed most, Pakistanis seized on her visit as the perfect moment to lash out at a U.S. government they perceived as arrogant, domineering and insensitive to their plight.

At a televised town hall meeting in Islamabad on Friday, a woman in a mostly female audience characterized U.S. drone missile strikes on suspected terrorist targets in northwestern Pakistan as de facto acts of terrorism themselves. A day earlier in Lahore, a college student asked Clinton why every student who visits the U.S. is viewed there as a terrorist.

The opinions Clinton heard weren't the strident voices of radical clerics or politicians with anti-American agendas. Some of the most biting criticisms came from well-mannered university youths and respected, seasoned journalists, a reflection of the breadth of dissatisfaction Pakistanis have with U.S. policy toward their country.

In those voices, a sense that Pakistan was paying a heavy price for America's "war on terror" rang clear.

"You had one 9/11, and we are having daily 9/11s in Pakistan," Asma Shirazi, a journalist with Geo TV, told Clinton during the Islamabad town hall meeting.

Clinton's visit came at a time when Pakistanis' suspicions about U.S. intentions in their country were at an all-time high.

A five-year, $7.5-billion aid package to Pakistan recently signed into law by President Obama has stoked much of the animosity. Measures in the legislation aimed at ensuring the money isn't misspent have been perceived by Pakistanis as levers that Washington can use to exert control over their country.

Pakistanis also continue to be incensed by U.S. reliance on drone missile strikes to take out top Al Qaeda and Taliban commanders in Pakistan's lawless tribal areas along the Afghan border.

CIA-operated drone strikes have killed at least 13 senior Al Qaeda and Taliban militants in the tribal areas in the last 18 months. But Pakistani government and military leaders say the strikes have also killed hundreds of civilians and amount to violations of Pakistan's sovereignty.

At the Islamabad town hall meeting, a female student from a university in Peshawar, a city shaken by a car bomb blast Wednesday that killed 118 people, summed up the anger over the drone attacks.

"What is actually terrorism in U.S. eyes?" the woman asked. "Is it the killing of innocent people in, let's say, drone attacks? Or is it the killing of innocent people in different parts of Pakistan, like the bomb blast in Peshawar two days ago? Which one is terrorism, do you think?"

Pressed by the forum's moderator whether she thought U.S. drone missile strikes were tantamount to terrorism, Clinton answered, "No, I do not."

On the one occasion when Clinton struck her own assertive tone, the message appeared to get through. Her suggestion to Pakistani journalists in Lahore that elements within the Pakistani government likely were aware of the whereabouts of Al Qaeda leaders but were not acting on the information struck a chord on the opinion pages of major Pakistani newspapers.

"If we are honest, we cannot deny that much of what she said was true," remarked an editorial that appeared today in the News, a major English-language Pakistani daily.

Clinton repeatedly acknowledged the mutual lack of trust that has held back the relationship, and she stressed the Obama administration's commitment to addressing crucial issues for Pakistanis that reach beyond terrorism, such as shoring up Pakistan's beleaguered electricity grid and improving schools and healthcare.

Pakistanis, however, clearly remained unconvinced that Washington was as interested in improving quality of life in Pakistan as it was in tracking down terrorists. And on several occasions during her trip, Clinton was confronted by Pakistanis who blamed the previous U.S. administration's policies in Afghanistan for the militancy now wreaking havoc across Pakistan.

"Look, Madame Secretary, we are fighting a war that is imposed on us," journalist Shirazi told Clinton. "It's not our war. That was your war, and we are fighting that war."

Assessments of Clinton's trip in today's Pakistani newspapers were gloomy.

"One cannot help feeling that [Clinton's trip] was an abortive exercise," remarked an editorial in the Nation, an English-language newspaper, "and she went away fully conscious of that failure."