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Old 01-25-2017   #501
omarali50
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But aren't they about two different things? Pakistan could be winning its war against terrorists who attacked Pakistani institutions (bad taliban) and still supporting terrorists who help (real or imagined) strategic aims (good taliban)?
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Old 02-15-2017   #502
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Default Stoking the Fire in Karachi

A lengthy Crisis Group report on Karachi (many pgs). From the summary:
Quote:
Decades of neglect and mismanagement have turned Karachi, Pakistan’s largest and wealthiest city, into a pressure cooker. Ethno-political and sectarian interests and competition, intensified by internal migration, jihadist influx and unchecked movement of weapons, drugs and black money, have created an explosive mix. A heavy-handed, politicised crackdown by paramilitary Rangers is aggravating the problems. To address complex conflict drivers, the state must restore the Sindh police’s authority and operational autonomy while also holding it accountable. Over the longer term, it must redress political and economic exclusion, including unequal access to justice, jobs and basic goods and services, which criminal and jihadist groups tap for recruits and support. It must become again a provider to citizens, not a largely absentee regulator of a marketplace skewed toward the elite and those who can mobilise force. Sindh’s ruling party and Karachi’s largest must also agree on basic political behaviour, including respect for each other’s mandate, and reverse politicisation of provincial and municipal institutions that has eroded impartial governance.
Link:https://www.crisisgroup.org/asia/sou...g-fire-karachi
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Old 02-16-2017   #503
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A huge blast has killed up to 100 people in one of the most popular Sufi shrines in Pakistan. Naturally this has led to renewed discussion about when and if Pakistan's famed security establishment may (or may not) decisively switch sides in the "war on terror" (i.e. become anti-jihadist). I wrote a piece after one of many such past "turning points" and proposed three tests of whether such a change has occurred.
None of these has happened yet.
See my article at this site.

Excerpt:

There has been an explosion of outrage in Pakistan. Even Imran Khan managed to condemn the TTP by name (though PTI's offical account still tweeted that "Whoever" did this, did something awful). The Pakistani state has reportedly stuck back already at Taliban targets. The PM and the army chief have promised action (and are likely sincere, as far as that goes). The media has condemned the attack. Social media has been on fire. So far so good.
But within hours, the narrative has already started to fracture. First the media groups managed to invite people like Hamid Gul, Hafiz Saeed and Maulana Abdul Aziz (of Red mosque fame) to comment on this terrorist attack. And they managed to muddle the issue with references to the Indian hand and the eternal enemies of Pakistan (Afghanistan, Jews, America, that sort of thing). And on ARY (the most pro-army of Pakistan's many pro-army channels) the anchors themselves have been leading the charge. Mubasher Lucman, for example, angrily demanded that the first step needed at this time was to ban Indian overflights to Afghanistan! Top Military propagandist Ahmed Qureshi and loonies like Zaid Hamid have been busy blustering about how India will be made to pay for this latest atrocity.
The more things change. .

I wrote a piece three and a half years ago about the Pakistani anti-terror narrative and it's confusions and it is depressing to find that little or nothing needs to be changed in that article. The entire piece, unedited, is pasted at the end of this post.

There is a lot of talk about how this particular horrendous event is SO horrendous that now things really HAVE to change. Maybe. But do keep in mind that this is not the first mass casualty attack. There have been attacks on the Marriot hotel, an Ahmedi mosque, a volleyball match, a meena bazar, a church, even a mosque near GHQ (where the son of a corps commander was among the civilian victims killed in cold blood). And of course there have been countless massacres of Hazara and other Shias. Literally thousands of people have died in these attacks. But until now, there is no evidence that the army has changed it's basic "good terrorist/bad terrorist" policy. Terrorists who kill schoolchildren and shoot up railway stations in Kabul and Mumbai are good. Terrorists who kill children in Pakistan are bad. That policy has not worked for 13 years. It is not going to start working now.

How can we tell that GHQ is really changing policy:

1. Ahmed Qureshi and Zaid Hamid are suddenly out of a job and publicly disowned by the army.
2. Omar Saeed Sheikh, who was sentenced to death years ago for the killing of Daniel Pearl (a terrorist act he may not have committed, though he has surely committed many others). He has not been hanged. In fact there are intermittent reports of him living it up in prison. If he is hanged, that will be a sign of change. Especially since his handler was the famous brigadier Ejaz Shah (a close associate of the father of the double game, Pervez Musharraf himself).
3. Mumbai attackers rapid trial and punishment. Outside of Pakistan, everybody and their aunt knows that a group of ten terrorists from Pakistan landed in Mumbai in 2008 and cold bloodedly killed a 168 innocent people. In a famous picture, one of the attackes is calmly walking down the platform at Mumbai Railway station, shooting random civilians sitting on the platform. ..

...Unless you see some of these happenings, things will go back to "normal" ....

A dissenting note about the double game from a friend on facebook:
no, not a double game any more. they are being played by the taliban now, manipulating the internecine fault-lines inside the ISI and the army. they don't mind a few casualties in the mountains, if that is the price (in fact their foot-soldiers welcome the chance for martyrdom). they have the indomitable resolution of a madman doing god's work, while the army has the emptied ideology of a failed religious state being devoured by corruption. by day the generals pay hollow homage to the motherland and at night send tithes to their new fathers in the mountains, hoping to buy personal protection from the next suicide attack for themselves and their families.

A more sober take from the redoubtable Ahsan Butt on Five Rupees.

POSTSCRIPT: it is not looking good for those who thought some great sea change is coming. The script on the media has changed on PTV and to some extent on GEO, but remains the same on other channels and especially on the army's favorite channels like ARY and Dunya..... Blame India, CIA and the Jews. Invite Hafiz Saeed, Hamid Gul and other similar jokers to fog everything up. Bomb someone in the tribal areas and generate suspiciously exact body counts.
Until the next bombing.
Unfortunately it does look like the song remains the same...

Postscript2: Got some feedback from people focused on the role of Islam in these outrages. I would like to emphasize that while various forms of Islamism are causing problems in many parts of the world, Islam is NOT the proximate cause of the choices made by the Pakistani establishment. Hard Paknationalism is the primary driver. Someone like Musharraf (father of the infamous double-game) was not too bothered about Islam. What caused him to maintain the Taliban and other Jihadist groups was Paknationalism; specifically the "hard paknationalist" belief that we have to defeat India and to do that we need certain force multipliers/strategic-assets/deniable-non-state-actors and the Jihadis are the only people who will do that job. It is this belief that drives the "good-taliban/bad-Taliban" policy and the double games it entails. Commitment to fundamentalist Islam has little or nothing to do with it. (though of course, no Islam, no partition in the first place, so there are other turtles below the first one)...
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Old 02-18-2017   #504
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Default 'Encounters' after a tragedy

This report does make one wonder is Pakistani public security "turned off and on" by someone or something:
Quote:
As many as 27 hardcore terrorists, including a would-be suicide bomber, were killed during separate shootouts with the Rangers and police in a nationwide crackdown against militants following the deadly suicide bombing at the shrine of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar in Sehwan.
Link:https://tribune.com.pk/story/1330739...re-terrorists/
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Old 04-16-2017   #505
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Pakistan special forces catches huge quantity of weapons from #iran backed shia militias in #parachinar

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Parachinar is the capital of Kurram Agency, and the largest city of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas of Pakistan. Parachinar is situated on a neck of Pakistani territory south of Peshawar, that juts into Paktia Province of Afghanistan
From:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parachinar
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Old 05-08-2017   #506
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Iran tells #Pakistan to shut down terror bases ... While operating Taliban camps and hosting al-Qaeda's lifeline:http://www.reuters.com/article/us-ir...-idUSKBN1840SY

Last edited by davidbfpo; 05-08-2017 at 06:57 PM. Reason: Moved from Syria thread, link added and edited.
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