As a US lawmaker tabled bill in the House of Representatives, espousing self-determination for Balochistan, Pakistani media has been airing string of programmes and holding debates on the issue with several Baloch leaders sharing their views on how to redress the miseries of people of Pakistan’s southwestern province.
In an interview with a local Urdu daily published here on Tuesday, senior Baloch leader and provincial minister Muhabbat Khan Mari has said that Baloch separatist leaders were responsible for all the problems facing the people of Balochistan. He says it seems absolutely ridiculous when Baloch Sardars like Attaulluh Mengal, Akhtar Mengal, Nawab Khair Bux Mari, Barhamdagh Bugti and Herbyar Mari speak about rights of Balochis as they were who exploited the nation.
He said had there been people support for Herbyar Mari, there would have been his influence in at least three Tehseels of the province.
Muhabbat Mari claims only five percent of people have been supporting the separatists.
He says every Baloch child is ready to shed his last drop of blood for Pakistan.
When asked to elaborate situation in Kohlu district, deemed as stronghold of separatists, he said on the one side there were 180 million people of Pakistan while on the other hand only handful of terrorists and still the government of Pakistan seemed to be failed in controlling the miscreants. “Seeking separation is not new for this Sardars,” he said and added Khair Bux Mari lived in Russia for 20 years while his son Herbyar Mari had also been living in Europe. “They have no influence in Kohlu district despite they offered Rs10, 000 to jobless youth to join them,” he said. Mr Mari added that he knew financial status of Mari separatist Sardars and they could not purchase weapons. “Now they are having weapons and living in expensive cities like London.How come deprived Balochs live such a luxurious lives”.
He said Herbayar Mari had spent time in a London jail and was released after Rehman Malik’s efforts.
When asked to comment on excesses with Baloch, Mr Mari said it was beyond any doubt that excesses were committed not other than Baloch Sardars who ruled the province as governors and chife ministers. “I ask them what measures they took for providing basic amenities, education and employment to Baloch people,”. He said Sardars were responsible for injustices as they tried to make Balochis their salves.
He recalls the past and says Nawab Mehrullah Mari, father of famous Baloch leader Khair Bux Mari, didn’t allow British government to open a primary school in his area some 95 years ago. He said the Sardars wanted to keep people away from education.
Answering a question whether Baloch separatists could achieve their goal through US intervention he said: “Even father of this terrorist will not be able to achieve this goal”. We will free people of Balochistan form the shackles of this Sardars and our children would scarify for the integrity of Pakistan.
He also denied that any military operation was going on in the province. Mari said India was funneling arms and money to terrorists in Dera Murad Jamali, Sibbi, Kohlu and Makran through Afghanistan.
Written by Maidhc Ó Cathail
No doubt taking their cue from Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who has said that Pakistan poses the biggest strategic threat to Israel, three of the Israel lobby’s loudest mouthpieces used a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing — convened to advance Senate approval of President Barack Obama’s decision to promote Vice Adm. William McRaven to become commander of the U.S. Special Forces Command — to mentally prepare Americans for what will most likely be dubbed another “war of Muslim liberation.”
CNN reports on the lobby’s latest efforts to induce the United States into a totally unnecessary war with Pakistan:
Washington (CNN) — U.S. senators didn’t miss a chance Tuesday to voice frustration with Pakistan over how it takes billions of dollars of American aid while providing safe havens to terrorists to build bombs and launch cross-border attacks on U.S.troops in Afghanistan.
“Well, something’s got to give, something’s got to change,” Sen. Carl Levin, D-Michigan, who chairs the Senate Armed Services Committee, said at a hearing. “Because it just can’t continue this way, for them to expect that we’re going to have a normal relationship with them — which we all hope for.”
And Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, also was critical of Pakistan; specifically, whether the top Taliban leader and al Qaeda ally Mullah Omar was hiding there.
“Is Mullah Omar in Pakistan?” Graham asked Vice Adm.William McRaven, who supervised the raid on the Osama bin Laden compound In Pakistan that ended with the death of al Qaeda leader.
“Sir, we believe he is,” McRaven replied.
The hearing was the next step toward Senate approval of President Barack Obama’s decision to promote McRaven to become commander of the U.S. Special Forces Command.
Graham nudged McRaven along. “Do we believe he is there is with the knowledge of the ISI (Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate) and the upper echelon of the (Pakistani) army?” asked Graham.
“Sir, I believe the Pakistanis know he is in Pakistan,” McRaven said.
“Let me ask you this — If they tried for about a week do you think they could then find him?” said Graham.
“I can’t answer that because i don’t know whether they could or not because I don’t know exactly where Mullah Omar is,” answered McRaven, who said he believed the United States. has asked Pakistan to find the Taliban leader.
“Well, I’m asking,” said Graham. “I think Sen. Levin and I will both ask together today.”
And the ranking Republican on the committee, Sen.John McCain, R-Arizona, praised McRaven and his un-named fellow special operators for their success against bin Laden. “The leader of al Qaida is dead, but a new one has taken his place,” McCain said. “Your mission will be to help ensure he meets the same end.”
McCain used the hearing to voice again his strong criticism of President Obama’s troop drawdown timetable for Afghanistan.
“I’m very concerned that the president’s decision poses an unnecessary risk to the progress we’ve made thus far, to our mission, and to our men and women in uniform,” McCain warned
Marine Corps Lt. Gen. John Allen — poised to take over from Army Gen. David Petraeus as commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan — promised McCain and the other senators he would closely monitor the withdrawal plan and give candid advice where he saw fit.
“If confirmed, I will offer my candid assessment to the chain of command on the current state of the conflict, as well as provide options with respect to the president’s goals in accomplishing this strategy,” Allen said.
Last week Petraeus and Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen said the president had chosen a more aggressive withdrawal timetable than they had expected.
McCain grilled Allen on support for the White House plan.
“Gen. Allen, do you know of any military leader that recommended in 2009 that the president make an announcement in 2011 of drawdown of troops?” McCain asked.
“I do not, senator,” Allen replied.
“Do you know of any military leader that recommended the drawdown plan that the president announced last week?” McCain asked.
“I do not, senator,” Allen answered.
And the general said planning already was underway on how to implement the president’s plan to withdraw 10,000 troops this year, starting next month, and an additional 23,000 by next summer.
The hearing shed new light on U.S. concerns that al Qaeda and the Taliban are assembling explosives in Pakistan and then planting them in Afghanistan to kill Americans.
McRaven said he was certain IEDs — improvised explosive devices such as roadside bombs — used against Americans and coalition troops are coming out of Pakistan and that information about where the bombs are being assembled has been provided to Pakistani authorities.
“Have they (the Pakistanis) responded effectively?” asked Graham.
“They have not, sir,” McRaven replied.
Instead of going to war with a nation of more than 180 million Muslims, over its supposed sheltering of a man who has most likely been dead for 10 years, wouldn’t America be a lot safer if it indicted Senators Levin, Graham and McCain for their treasonous warmongering on behalf of Israel?
By Baqir Sajjad Syed
ISLAMABAD: Leon Panetta, chief of the Central Intelligence Agency, left Islamabad on Saturday morning after a meeting with Chief of the Army Staff Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and ISI head Gen Shuja Pasha, but without a deal on resetting the relationship between the spy agencies.
Mr Panetta, who arrived on Friday evening, did not meet anyone other than the Kayani-Pasha duo who he met at the Army House over dinner and discussed what was described by the ISPR as “framework for future intelligence sharing”.
Mr Panetta’s departure without routine calls on President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani was seen by observers here as a sign of stalemate in his discussions with the military leadership. According to sources, Mr Panetta was surprised by the rigidity shown by the military, which went to the extent of even declining an offer by Washington of security assistance.
But government officials insisted that unlike in the past this time he was not scheduled to meet anyone else.
While Gen Kayani had even before his visit made it clear that the Army would not allow the CIA to carry out independent operations and that any future intelligence cooperation would be reciprocal and transparent, Mr Panetta did little to pacify Pakistani generals and instead confronted them with “evidence of collusion with Taliban militants”.
This, a source claimed, would further sour the relationship which had already been under strain since the start of this year and got worse after the May 2 Abbottabd raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound.
According to US media reports, Mr Panetta shared with the military leadership video and satellite imagery of militants leaving two bomb-making factories in Waziristan after allegedly having been tipped off about a raid.
The US reportedly shared the information with Pakistan last week, asking it to take action against the two sites. But Mr Panetta alleged at the meeting that the information was leaked within 24 hours of sharing and by the time the raiding teams reached those places, the militants had melted away.
A defense source said the CIA chief, who is set to take over as the next US defense secretary, reportedly used this as an instance to tell the army and intelligence chiefs why America distrusted Pakistani military establishment and needed to have its own independent operations inside the country to deal with Al Qaeda and Taliban.
Efforts to get a version from official sources in Islamabad did not bear fruit.
Mr Panetta, during his visit, reportedly tried to convince the Pakistanis to allow some critical CIA operations to continue after the agency was asked to cut down its footprint. He also asked for some CIA operatives to be given visas to enable them to enter the country and work independently.
Gen Kayani and Gen Pasha are reported to have insisted on joint operations and intelligence sharing, but no independent operations. They said that a recently-constituted joint task force for coordination of intelligence activities should be the nerve centre of any future ISI-CIA collaboration.
Reuters adds: The army and intelligence chiefs told Mr Panetta that they were not willing to reverse a decision to cut the number of US troops allowed in their country, Pakistani military officials said on Saturday.
“He (Panetta) expressed concern over the reduction of trainers and operatives. We told him very clearly ‘no boots on our soil is acceptable’,” said a military official.
“We told him (Panetta) that we are clear. We don’t want their people. Intelligence sharing is fine and we are ready for that,” said another military official. “Any action against the militants will be taken by our forces alone but we will share intelligence on militants actively.”
A US embassy spokesman said he had no information on Panetta’s talks.
TEHRAN: Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Tuesday accused Washington, Tehran’s arch-foe, of planning to sabotage Pakistan’s nuclear facilities, during a media conference in Tehran.
“We have precise information that America wants to sabotage the Pakistani nuclear facilities in order to control Pakistan and to weaken the government and people of Pakistan,” the hardline president said.
The United States would then use the UN Security Council “and some other international bodies as levers to prepare the ground for a massive presence (in Pakistan) and weaken the national sovereignty of Pakistan,” he added, without elaborating.
Pakistan is the only Islamic nation with nuclear weapons, and has close relations with Iran.
In order to fight al Qaeda and Taliban insurgents in Pakistan, Washington has intensified its aerial operations in Iran’s southeastern neighbour.
Pakistani Islamist groups have at the same time multiplied their assaults on Pakistani military convoys and also on transport and fuel convoys through Pakistani territory intended for NATO troops in Afghanistan.
By Syed Shoaib Hasan BBC News, Karachi
The deadly 15-hour siege on Pakistan’s Mehran naval airbase in Karachi on Monday was carried out by attackers with military-level training, raising suspicions they had inside help.
Questions are being asked about the security of Pakistan’s vital military installations after a well-organised group of gunmen held off Pakistan’s equivalent of the US Navy Seals – the Special Services Group-Navy (SSG-N) – for 15 hours.
The SSG-N is said to be the most formidable fighting force in Pakistan, but – for a few hours at least – they appeared to be at the mercy of a brazen group of fighters.
“They weren’t any ordinary militants – certainly not the Taliban,” said one security official, who wished to remain unnamed.
“The aim of all Taliban attacks is maximum death and destruction – these men were very focused on what they were after.”
Speed and organisation
From the beginning it was clear the attackers had an intricate knowledge of the base and its vulnerable areas. They were tactically assured and the operation had clearly been long in the planning.
“They came over the wall cutting the wire on the eastern side of the base,” another official told the BBC, adding that it was one of the weak points. The militants knew and exploited this – just one piece of inside knowledge they had.
“That side is just next to the runway – and the guard tower is at a distance because planes land regularly.”
The first time the militants were seen was when they appeared on the runway, weapons at the ready. “The [navy] men couldn’t believe their eyes,” says the official.
A number of officials listed to me their observations, which reinforced the conviction that they were being confronted with a new kind of militant attack:
- Military formation: One injured sailor told an official that the attackers “moved and dressed like us”. The militants moved in tactical military formation and spoke in military parlance. They spoke between themselves in Urdu, as well as a foreign language.
- Clothing and equipment: The militants wore combat fatigues, according to officials – and had night vision goggles, carrying rocket propelled grenades [RPGs]. “It takes months of training for ease with the goggles, and years to be expert,” an official told me.
- Tactics and a plan: One witness said that even though the militants had clear sight of them, “they ignored us… Instead, they just aimed RPGs at the two Orions [planes] parked on the tarmac.” They were clearly under instructions to destroy military hardware. They also changed tactics easily and broke away in groups, which clearly had different aims.
- Crack shots: “They were excellent shots – as good as any we have,” said a security official involved in the operation. They used their night vision goggles to maximum effect, witnesses say – and that was an advantage they had until the SSG-N team arrived at the scene. When the gun battle began, one security official said, it was clear that these men could “hold their own” in a firefight. The fact that they had M16 carbines and sniper rifles also set them apart.
Officials says all of this is in strong contrast to the Taliban, who adopt an equally brutal but more chaotic mode of attack. “Their best weapon is the suicide bomber – they are notoriously poor shots,” one official told me.
“They were the exception to every rule of Pakistan militant tactics.
“They were also not about killing people,” the official said. “It was clear they were interested in the destruction of equipment, a much more ‘military’ aim.”
Shock and disbelief
It was only the sheer numbers of the naval personnel that prevented further damage to the aircraft in the base, one naval spokesman said.
Even so, the ferocity, speed and organisation of the onslaught still came as a shock. The planes were in flames and a gun battle was being fought within minutes.
The incident has drawn comparisons with the 2008 Mumbai (Bombay) attacks
But one of the attackers in particular caught the attention of those who were watching and bearing the brunt of the attack.
“A small young man with a light beard who later dropped his M16 for two Uzi submachine guns. He was particularly deadly – he killed one soldier with a single shot at over 600 yards.”
Another clue as to the level of their training and proficiency was their ability to change tactics. One witness recounted how in the midst of the firefight the attackers appeared to change their minds and back off.
They appeared to be going for the barracks housing the Chinese engineers. Another firefight broke out until a new detachment of naval marines got to the Chinese barracks. The militants, when they realised what was happening, opened fire on the armoured vehicles the Chinese engineers were being taken away in.
Everything about the attack pointed to a detailed knowledge of the barracks. After the Chinese engineers were taken away, they broke up into groups and one group took refuge in a nearby barracks.
“They used the building to maximum effect – they knew it and the surrounding area inside out,” the official said.
“We later discovered plans to the whole compound on them.”
The SSG-N finally got into the barracks and killed the remaining militants. The attackers had clearly come prepared for a long siege, bringing bags of dried fruit as rations.
Officials dismiss the explanation that the attack was in retaliation for Osama Bin Laden’s death. “This took months of planning – the only parallel I can think of is Mumbai [Bombay],” one said.
Gunmen killed 165 people in the 2008 Mumbai attacks, and India has repeatedly accused Pakistan and its ISI intelligence agency of involvement in them.
“This maybe the first attack of its kind [in Pakistan],” the security official said. “But it’s definitely not the last.”
Officials say the only other time they have encountered such ferocity and training is in fighting al-Qaeda militants – especially Chechens and Uzbeks – in Pakistan’s tribal areas.
“The way they went about their business – I could almost say they were our own commandos,” says the security official.
He is not the only one who thinks that some of those involved in the attack may be serving military personnel or ex-servicemen.
PSYOPS are one of CIA’s oldest weapons. And ISI is its latest target. The goal? Encouraging defections and rebellion and reducing morale inside armed forces and the Pakistani nation. The message? Do America’s bidding in the region or else.
DR. FARRUKH SALEEM | Sunday | 22 May 2011 | The News International
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan—Lieutenant General Ahmad Shuja Pasha and the Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate that he commands are under an asymmetric attack of a unique kind. The Inter-Services Intelligence Agency (ISI), the eyes and ears of the army, is in the midst of a ‘war of the mind’. The weapon is one of the oldest in the Central Intelligence Agency’s (CIA) stockpile. It is non-lethal but a definite combat multiplier. The weapon is all about ‘sight and sound’ and is dispersed either by the media, newspapers, magazines, diplomats, courts or by face-to-face interactions.
The CIA executes psychological operations (PSYOP) through the agency’s Special Activities Division (SAD) which in turn is a part of the National Clandestine Service. The US Army also conducts PSYOPs through the 4th Psychological Operations Group (Airborne) which is a dedicated PSYOP unit. The US Navy has a special-purpose radio/television dedicated to psychological operations units. The US Air Force’s 193rd Special Operations Wing uses a modified C-130 Hercules to provide an aerial platform for CIA’s PSYOPs.
During WWI, the US undertook PSYOPs through the Propaganda Sub-Section of the Military Intelligence Branch. In WWII, white propaganda was conducted by the Office of War Information and black propaganda by the Morale Operations Branch. During the Vietnam War the CIA-along with US Special Operations Forces-planned and executed the Phoenix Program. The CIA has also executed extensive PSYOPs in Korea, Guatemala, Panama, Nicaragua, Sweden and during the two Gulf Wars.
The CIA’s new target is the ISI. CIA has been carefully studying the ISI through defectors, intelligence reports and some native help. On or around May 3, a comprehensively reinforced Tactical PSYOP – targeting a specific enemy combat group – was launched in order to cajole, coax and impel the ISI into doing what the CIA considers are America’s national objectives.
The CIA’s Tactical PSYOP is targeting to deplete ISI’s esprit de corps by severely disrupting ISI’s internal cohesion. CIA is bent upon three things: reducing morale, promoting dissension and inducing defections.
Simultaneously, CIA’s Strategic PSYOP is targeting the Pakistani population at large. The goal here is to fracture ISI’s reputation within the Pakistani population and consequently to create a rift between the two – population and the ISI.
The CIA’s tools include demoralizing the target, instilling fear in-tandem with a diplomatic onslaught. Carriers of these tools include The New York Times, The Washington Post, International Herald Tribune, Voice of America, Senator John Kerry, Marc Grossman, Admiral Mike Mullen, Tahawwur Hussain’s trial in Chicago, summoning of DG-ISI by a Brooklyn court, talk of ‘stealth drones’ and many others.
The American military mind is not much concerned as to how the message is carried – or by whom – but the impact of the message on the targeted recipient. In 2010, Lt General Caldwell, Commander, Nato Training Mission in Afghanistan, ordered a PSYOP targeting visiting American senators and 4-star generals to influence them into sending additional troops. Under US law, PSYOP units are prohibited from undertaking “PSYOP missions on domestic audience.” General Petraeus has now ordered an investigation into the alleged PSYOP against American senators.
To be certain, Osama’s elimination is purely tactical with little or no strategic value. America’s strategy of an ‘honorable exit’ hasn’t changed, before or after Osama’s death, but the tactical advantage is now being used to bring ISI down to its knees.
The eventual aim is to maneuver an ISI cave-in without having to fight for it. Sun Tzu, the greatest military strategist that ever lived, said: “To subdue the enemy without fighting is the supreme excellence.”
Dr. Saleem is a columnist for The News International. Reach him at farrukh15[at]hotmail.com