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    Small Wars Journal SWJED's Avatar
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    Default Pakistani politics (catch all)

    Shiite-Sunni Conflict Rises in Pakistan - Christian Science Monitor.

    In this Punjabi city of shrines, Shiites and Sunnis prayed side by side during Ashura this week, the holiest holiday for the world's 150 million Shiite Muslims.

    But a province away, suicide bombers attempted to strike Shiite processions throughout Pakistan's Northwest Frontier Province, leaving as many as 21 dead and more than 40 injured in three separate incidents, including two suicide attacks. The violence, the latest in a sharp uptick against Pakistan's Shiite minority, has heightened concerns that Iraq's conflict may be feeding sectarian violence here. Whether the conflict in Iraq is capable of igniting Pakistan's simmering sectarian tensions raises questions about a growing global sectarian war.

    The answer is important, analysts say, because Pakistan's 30 million Shiites -- numbering more than Iraq's -- could become a flash point if sectarian violence spreads...

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    Default The Beginning of the "Talibanization" of Pakistan?

    28 April Real Clear Politics commentary - The Beginning of the "Talibanization" of Pakistan? By Ahmed Humayun.

    Repeated attempts at passing the Hasbah Bill in the legislative assembly of the North West Frontier Province (NWFP) of Pakistan have raised the specter of national implementation of Sharia law. Introduced by the religious party coalition of the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA), this legislation outlines new religious laws that are to be enforced by a "morality police." Though the law has been rejected as unconstitutional by the Supreme Court of Pakistan, and Pakistani President Musharraf has voiced his opposition, the MMA has vowed to continue in its attempt to set up structures of religious oversight and enforcement.

    What are the prospects of the establishment of religious laws enforced by a morality police in Pakistan? Some observers evince considerable concern. By historical standards the religious parties did extraordinarily well in the October 2002 provincial and national elections: while they typically garner between 5 and 8 percent of the popular vote, this time the parties collected 11.1 percent. Widespread popular disaffection with the Musharraf regime has substantially weakened Musharraf's domestic political viability. He could be forced to make significant concessions to the religious parties or otherwise be overthrown. The MMA, or elements in the army sympathetic to it, will then replace Musharraf and move to institute religious law...

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    This should also have people concerned:

    BBC, 2 May 07: Pakistan Downplays Radioactive Ad
    ...Officials on Wednesday were keen to reassure the outside world that the latest incident in no way has the makings of another nuclear scandal, and that no radioactive material had been stolen, lost or gone missing....

    ....This could have been before the creation of Pakistan, and may relate to nuclear material that could not be taken under our charge," Zaheer Ayub Baig, information services director of Pakistan's Nuclear Regulatory Authority, said in a letter to the BBC.

    Mr Baig said that the adverts were merely a public awareness campaign to make people aware of the dangers of radiation from material that might have been used in hospitals and industrial plants.

    He said the advertising campaign was being expanded.

    "There is nothing to worry about," Mr Baig said....

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    Dressed in Black: A Look at Pakistan's Radical Women - Jamestown. Good stuff on how women's auxiliaries of radical Islamist groups are scoring major IO victories against the secular Pakistani state.

    Radical women in Pakistan are increasingly being used by male jihadi groups and extremists, including religious political parties, to serve their interests and promote their cause. This year's protests by women clad in black burqas of the Jamia Hafsa seminary in front of the Lal Masjid, in the capital city of Islamabad, is proof of a trend that is becoming more alarming, threatening and unprecedented in Pakistan's history ...

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    Posted on Bill Roggio's The Fourth Rail: Taliban Operations in Bajaur
    ...Less than two months after the Pakistani government negotiated with the Taliban in Bajaur, the Taliban have openly flexed their muscles in the troubled tribal agency. On Satuday, “militants,” described as Taliban but very likely the Tehrik-e-Nifaz-e-Shariat-e-Mohammadi (TNSM - the Movement for the Implementation of Mohammad's Sharia Law), or Pakistani Taliban, set up check points and harassed the locals for not being sufficiently Islamic. The TNSM deployed over 250 fighters along the roads in Bajaur, at one point no less than 3 miles from Khar, the agency headquarters....

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    Council Member tequila's Avatar
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    Default South Waziristan's Maulvi Nazir: New Face of the Taliban

    Interesting Jamestown article about maneuverings in Waziristan between Pakistan, al-Qaeda, and the tribes:

    Pakistan is experimenting with the Taliban yet again. The primary focus of the effort is to de-link the Taliban from al-Qaeda and bring them back into the Pakistani sphere of influence. Uzbek militants have been the first “casualty” of this re-alignment. Potentially, remaining Arab militants will be next. Tribal forces in South Waziristan under the leadership of Maulvi Nazir are at the forefront of this “movement.” Extremist notions of religion remain their bread and butter, but new political objectives also guide their activities on the ground. This, in short, defines the neo-Taliban phenomenon. It is critical to understand the background, motivations and alliances of Maulvi Nazir to fully comprehend what is transpiring in the region ...
    Good backgrounder from the BBC used in the above analysis: Pakistan's tribals - Who is Killing Who?
    Last edited by tequila; 05-15-2007 at 11:12 AM.

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    Default Back to the question of suicide bombing

    Pakistani Religious Affairs Minister says proper reaction to UK granting Salman Rushdie a knighthood is suicide bombing

    Pakistan on Monday condemned Britain’s award of a knighthood to author Salman Rushdie as an affront to Muslim sentiments, and a Cabinet minister said the honor provided a justification for suicide attacks.

    “This is an occasion for the (world’s) 1.5 billion Muslims to look at the seriousness of this decision,” Mohammed Ijaz ul-Haq, religious affairs minister, said in parliament.

    “The West is accusing Muslims of extremism and terrorism. If someone exploded a bomb on his body, he would be right to do so unless the British government apologizes and withdraws the ‘sir’ title,” ul-Haq said. ...

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    CACI Forum, 7 Jun 07: Waziristan and the Uzbeks
    ....The fact of the matter is, Taliban Mullah Nazir declared a Jihad against some Uzbeks, but not by any means all Uzbeks, and certainly not all foreign fighters. The al Qaeda Arabs, for example, were incontestably not on the target list at all. In really, there are two main groups of Uzbeks in Waziristan. The Taliban, according to Pakistan's News International, were only fighting the "bad Uzbeks," who are part of a splinter terrorist movement called the Islamic Jihad Group, or IJG, a radical group which broke away from the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan in 2004.

    The IMU is the other main group of Uzbeks, and it was not targeted. The IMU is led by Tahir Yuldashev, and is closely aligned with al Qaeda and the Taliban. Yuldashev is believed to sit on the al Qaeda global shura and has tactical control over perhaps 500 fighters in Waziristan. These Uzbeks were not targeted in the fighting; in fact, Yuldashev is reported to have a close relationship with Osama bin Laden, and some of his IMU Uzbeks are believed to serve on bin Laden's "Black Guard," his personal corps of bodyguards. Mullah Nazir is not only close to Yuldashev, but to other known al Qaeda operatives in Jihadistan as well, including Khadr al Kanadi.

    In fact, far from being a "success story" of the peace deals, the recent fighting illustrates how completely out of control the entire frontier is becoming. Yes, some Jihadis are killing some other Jihadis, and that's a good thing at the tactical level. But in the big picture it's not a significant win. It can be compared to the Mafia families of New York having a gang war -- the stronger gang will eventually come out on top with consolidated control, more local respect, few if any enemies, and a more focused agenda. The north of Pakistan is a very dangerous place, and the momentum now is running in the wrong direction.

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    It reminds me of that Al Pacino movie Scarface and the scene in which he blows away his boss and a crooked cop and assumes control of the fictional cocaine dealing family. He then asks the dead boss's bodyguard if he wants a job and the bodyguard says, "Sure" and then thanks Pacino for the job. The rank and file of the ostracized group will simply follow a new leader, no questions asked.

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    Default Pakistani Government Seeks to Salvage Peace Deal

    17 July Washington Post - Pakistani Government Seeks to Salvage Peace Deal by Griff Witte.

    The Pakistani government plans to try to salvage a controversial peace deal in the remote tribal zone North Waziristan, despite a decision by Taliban fighters to renounce it and declare war against the army, officials said Monday.

    The Taliban has accused the government of violating terms of the 10-month-old deal by setting up checkpoints and carrying out operations against suspected insurgents. But government officials on Monday disputed that assertion and said they will continue to uphold their end of the agreement...

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    Default Fighting Intensifies In Pakistani Tribal Area

    23 July Washington Post - Fighting Intensifies In Pakistani Tribal Area by Griff Witte and Imtiaz Ali.

    Fighting intensified between the Pakistani army and insurgents in a volatile tribal area near the Afghan border Sunday, a week after the collapse of a controversial cease-fire.

    At least 19 extremist fighters were killed in the battle, which involved army helicopters strafing positions in North Waziristan, security officials said. The fighting began Saturday when insurgents attacked an army checkpoint, prompting a battle that continued through the day Sunday and into the night, said an official in Miram Shah, the area's main town. Residents also reported hearing artillery being fired in the area Sunday night...

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    Default U.S. Military Options Draw a Chorus of Protests in Pakistan

    24 July NY Times - U.S. Military Options Draw a Chorus of Protests in Pakistan by Salman Masood.

    American assertions that military action remained an option to quell militants in Pakistan’s frontier regions drew mounting protests from the government and its critics here on Monday, as clashes continued in the tribal areas where the United States says Al Qaeda has been allowed to set up a safe haven.

    The Pakistani military said Monday that its forces in North Waziristan had killed 35 militants in battles since the day before, though reporters and residents in the tribal town of Miramshah expressed doubts about the military’s claim. The military spokesman, Maj. Gen. Waheed Arshad, said two soldiers had been killed and 12 wounded in fighting since Sunday night.

    Fresh fighting erupted a little over a week ago in the tribal areas, when the Taliban renounced a truce in the aftermath of a government raid on a radical pro-Taliban mosque here in the capital. The government of the Pakistani president, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, has tried to stitch up the truce. The militants demand that troops pull out of posts in the tribal areas.

    The Bush administration has recently stepped up its criticism of the peace deal with the militants, using it to press General Musharraf, its longtime ally, into taking more forceful action against what it calls sanctuaries of Qaeda fighters and their helpers...

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    Default Pakistan: The Taliban's Godfather

    GWU's National Security Archive, 14 Aug 07:

    Documents Detail Years of Pakistani Support for Taliban, Extremists
    A collection of newly-declassified documents published today detail U.S. concern over Pakistan's relationship with the Taliban during the seven-year period leading up to 9-11. This new release comes just days after Pakistan's president, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, acknowledged that, "There is no doubt Afghan militants are supported from Pakistan soil." While Musharraf admitted the Taliban were being sheltered in the lawless frontier border regions, the declassified U.S. documents released today clearly illustrate that the Taliban was directly funded, armed and advised by Islamabad itself.

    Obtained under the Freedom of Information Act by the National Security Archive at George Washington University, the documents reflect U.S. apprehension about Islamabad's longstanding provision of direct aid and military support to the Taliban, including the use of Pakistani troops to train and fight alongside the Taliban inside Afghanistan. The records released today represent the most complete and comprehensive collection of declassified documentation to date on Pakistan's aid programs to the Taliban, illustrating Islamabad's firm commitment to a Taliban victory in Afghanistan.

    These new documents also support and inform the findings of a recently-released CIA intelligence estimate characterizing Pakistan's tribal areas as a safe haven for al-Qaeda terrorists, and provide new details about the close relationship between Islamabad and the Taliban in the years prior to the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan. Declassified State Department cables and U.S. intelligence reports describe the use of Taliban terrorist training areas in Afghanistan by Pakistani-supported militants in Kashmir, as well as Pakistan's covert effort to supply Pashtun troops from its tribal regions to the Taliban cause in Afghanistan-effectively forging and reinforcing Pashtun bonds across the border and consolidating the Taliban's severe form of Islam throughout Pakistan's frontier region.....

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    Default I don't often comment on your postings but I do

    read most all of 'em.

    Thank you for providing them.

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    Council Member tequila's Avatar
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    Not sure where to put this in the many Pakistani threads, but an interesting read.

    Increasing Talibanization in Pakistan's Seven Tribal Agencies - Jamestown Foundation.

    The government of President Pervez Musharraf is facing policy failure in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) of Pakistan. Taliban forces and their sympathizers are becoming entrenched in the region and are aggressively expanding their influence and operations (especially in Tank, Dera Ismail Khan and Swat Valley in the North-West Frontier Province). A lethal combination of Musharraf's political predicament and declining public support, a significant rise in suicide attacks targeting the army and the reluctance of soldiers deputed in the area to engage tribal gangs militarily further exacerbates this impasse ...

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    The Jamestown Foundation's Terrorism Monitor, 7 Feb 08:

    The Impact of Pashtun Tribal Differences on the Pakistani Taliban
    ....There is no denying the fact that tribal affiliations play a major role in the formation of Taliban groups and the choice of commanders. The Taliban and other jihad advocates often claim that they believe in the concept of a common Muslim ummah (community) and reject the division of their religion into groups based on ethnicity, language, geographical borders and tribes. In practice this is easier said than done. In tribal societies such as that of the Pashtuns inhabiting Pakistan and Afghanistan, even ideologically-driven radical Taliban and jihadist fighters gravitate toward their own tribe and local commander whether fighting U.S.-led Coalition forces or the armed forces of Pakistan.

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    Council Member tequila's Avatar
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    No surprise for us Pakistan watchers:

    In Tribal Pakistan, Religious Parties Founder - NYTIMES, 14 Feb.

    ...

    The religious parties that for the last five years have governed the North-West Frontier Province and Baluchistan Province, which border Afghanistan and the tribal areas, are foundering.

    Since being swept to power in 2002 on a wave of anti-Americanism and sympathy for the Taliban after the American invasion of Afghanistan, the mullahs here have found that the public mood has shifted against them.
    People complain that they have failed to deliver on their promises, that they have proved just as corrupt as other politicians and that they have presided over a worsening of security, demonstrated most vividly in a rising number of suicide attacks carried out by militants based in the nearby tribal areas.

    “They did not serve the people,” said Faiz Muhammad, 47, a farmer whose son was killed in the bomb blast on an Awami political gathering on Saturday.

    The shift in mood here may be a bellwether of larger trends nationwide. The religious parties held 59 seats in the 342-member Parliament, making them a kingmaker at critical times, like helping President Pervez Musharraf to extend his military rule. But this time their number may fall to single digits, according to some estimates ...

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    Long War Journal, 25 Jun 08: Northwest Pakistan Descends into Chaos
    The Pakistani Taliban continue military operations in the tribal agencies and the settled regions of the Northwest Frontier Province despite ongoing negotiations to sign a peace agreement with the government. Forces loyal to Baitullah Mehsud overran a town previously run by pro-government tribal forces, and beheaded 22 Pakistanis. In Peshawar, the provincial capital, police and government officials have said the Taliban is close to taking control of the city.....
    Last edited by Jedburgh; 06-29-2008 at 04:13 AM. Reason: Fixed link.

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    Council Member tequila's Avatar
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    Default Pakistani politics: merged thread

    Moderator's Note

    Today, 23rd December 2012, a number of threads commenting on Pakistani politics have been merged. The title was originally on General / President Musharraf's removal from power.


    London Times analysis on the recent violent turn in the recent Pakistan Supreme Court crisis, which is morphing into a general challenge to Musharraf's rule. A massive general strike has paralyzed several cities in response to ethnic violence widely seen as being perpetrated by the General's backers.

    The clashes and violence in Karachi this weekend have given a major new turn to the ongoing protests at the removal of Pakistan's Chief Justice, Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry.


    What had been a peaceful protest for the independence of the judiciary has turned violent and been transformed into a general pro-democracy movement. The Government's attempts to curb the demonstrations in Karachi have had the opposite effect: increasing immensely the pressure on General Musharraf and galvanising the opposition parties.


    There are now widespread demands for Musharraf to hang up his uniform and give up power and my hunch is that he will not last the year. This is the worst crisis since he took power in 1999. It is a crisis of legitimacy and it is distinguished by the fact that the protests are entirely secular and democratic in their character.
    The U.S. has put most of its eggs in the Musharraf basket. What next?
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 12-23-2011 at 11:46 PM. Reason: Add Mod's Note

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    Default More on Recent Events in Pakistan

    16 May Washington Post - Suicide Bombing Kills 25 in Pakistan by Griff Witte and Kamran Khan.

    A suicide bomber detonated his charge inside a crowded restaurant during the lunch hour here on Tuesday, killing 25 people and adding to a string of violent episodes that have badly shaken the government of President Pervez Musharraf.

    In just four days, Pakistan has been the scene of urban rioting that killed 40, a border clash with Afghanistan, the death of a U.S. soldier and the suspected assassination of a top official at the Supreme Court.

    Although not all of the incidents have been related, they have underscored the diverse challenges to Musharraf's authority. As Islamic militants have carried out attacks aimed at undermining his rule, pro-democracy advocates have taken to the streets to condemn what they see as authoritarian tactics. Calls for the president's resignation have grown louder, and there is open talk that the country could descend into broader civil disorder...

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