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War on Terror

The last words of Sarfaraz Shah uttered in pain get recorded in the camera and we could hear and see that the young boy struggled for life until last few moments of his life. He still had hope that the killers had shot not to kill him and he could be saved with some quick medical aid. The last few seconds of the video ends with his cries for mercy to take him at least to the hospital and then he collapses on the ground all filled with his blood… again it resembles a site of animal sacrificed who could still smell the stench of its own fresh blood and perhaps expects mercy from those who stands there and watch the show. -- Sonia Wahab (Photo: Pakistan Rangers in uniform killing Sarfraz Shah)

WASHINGTON, Jun 12, 2011 (IPS) - During his intensive initial round of media interviews as commander in Afghanistan in August 2010, Gen. David Petraeus released figures to the news media that claimed spectacular success for raids by Special Operations Forces: in a 90-day period from May through July, SOF units had captured 1,355 rank and file Taliban, killed another 1,031, and killed or captured 365 middle or high-ranking Taliban. The claims of huge numbers of Taliban captured and killed continued through the rest of 2010.

In December, Petraeus's command said a total of 4,100 Taliban rank and file had been captured in the previous six months and 2,000 had been killed. Those figures were critical to creating a new media narrative hailing the success of SOF operations as reversing what had been a losing U.S. strategy in Afghanistan. But it turns out that more than 80 percent of those called captured Taliban fighters were released within days of having been picked up, because they were found to have been innocent civilians, according to official U.S. military data. -- Gareth Porter

 

On top of the list of ignored issues sits the primary issue of accountability and transparency of punitive action. Over the past years, many embarrassing events have taken place raising disturbing questions about the competence of the operation command of high-ranking officers, but no action has been initiated or punishment meted out. Whether it is the Parade Lane attack in Rawalpindi or the terrorists’ thrust into the army’s heartland, the GHQ, inquiries have been kept under wraps without anyone in the top ranks getting the sack for professional failure. Indeed the brazenness with which the military command has sidetracked culpability in Osama bin Laden’s presence and killing on the country’s soil is striking. No less shocking is the utterly ridiculous stand of the naval chief on the PNS Mehran attack that appeared to suggest there was no security lapse. Just as scandalous are Pakistan Air Force claims on radar failure to detect America’s deep intrusion. -- Syed Talat Hussain

It was also a chilling message, telling me in no uncertain terms that the much-feared Mother of All Agencies was watching all, and was in the know of my trespasses regarding the holy cow of Pakistan. It therefore came as no surprise to me when it was revealed, and then reinforced by a strong and unequivocal statement by the president of the All Pakistan Newspapers Society, Hameed Haroon, that the brutally murdered Salim Shahzad had said in emails to him and to at least three others that he had been threatened by various ISI officers on at least three occasions in the past five years, the last threat coming from the ‘media managers’ in a meeting at the ISI headquarters which Saleem recorded in an email to Hameed Haroon on Oct 18, 2010. -- Kamran Shafi

The Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Directorate, the agency you head, is being accused of Saleem’s murder. You must also know that the ISI is widely reviled and dreaded at home. For an agency that was set up primarily for strategic intelligence, this is quite an achievement. It is accused of driving in its own lane, monitoring the media, kidnapping, torturing and sometimes killing dissenters, political and otherwise, determining, arbitrarily, what Pakistan’s national interest is and how best we should go about pursuing it. Whispers there always have been. But now much is being said aloud. -- Ejaz Haider

The senior intelligence official was “curious” to identify the source of Mr Shahzad’s story claiming it to be a “shame” that such a leak should occur from the offices of a high profile intelligence service. Mr Shahzad additionally stated that the rear-admiral offered him some information, ostensibly “as a favour “ in the following words: “We have recently arrested a terrorist and have recovered a lot of data, diaries and other materials during the interrogation. The terrorist had a hit list with him. If I find your name on the list I will certainly let you know.” Mr Shahzad subsequently confirmed to me in a conversation that he not only interpreted this conversation as a veiled threat to his person, he also informed me that he let an official from the ISI know soon thereafter that he intended to share the content of this threat with his colleagues. -- Hameed Haroon

 

The budget session which gets underway today represents the perfect occasion to start the long (and likely arduous) journey away from a militarised state towards a welfare state. Or maybe I am getting ahead of myself. It would be premature to assume that a significant number of members of parliament are actually committed to such a political project. What they should be willing to commit to unequivocally, however, is the supremacy of civilian institutions. A critical mass of ordinary citizens would fully back a unified parliamentary effort to subject defence expenditures to open scrutiny, and thus make clear that no state institution can remain unaccountable to the taxpaying public. -- Aasim Sajjad Akhtar

 

The fact that Shahzad’s torturers left his dead body out in the open instead of quietly burying it someplace provides a string of clues about their real motives. It is highly unlikely that they simply intended to extract a piece of information. It appears more plausible that they meant to make an “example” out of somebody who dared to know and communicate too much. Let’s make no mistake about it. We cannot afford to shirk responsibilities here. A diluted narrative which reduces the incident merely to an attack on free media or illegal abduction or even murder will amount to grave injustice. How we deal with this incident might as well seal our fate as conscientious moral agents. -- Adnan Sattar

 

This writer’s tryst with Shahzad’s columns started in the aftermath of the November 26, 2008 attack on Mumbai. When much of the Indian reportage of 26/11 was mostly an amplification of the official line with little original investigation or reporting, it was interesting to note that Shahzad’s articles during December 2008 had revealed much on what we would learn only in late 2009 through the arrests in Chicago of David Coleman Headley and Tahawwur Hussain Rana. For example Shahzad had in December 2008 laid out the contours of what we now call the ‘Karachi Project’ that saw elements within the ISI and Lashkar-e-Tayyeba collaborating with elements within Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami and Al Qaeda’s ‘313 Brigade’ and Karachi-based criminals of Indian origin. -- Shashi Shekhar

 

Perhaps a sense of media responsibility and proportion on releasing and analysing “sensitive” information on the basis of dubious sources may help to diffuse provocation and improve the situation. Pakistan is passing through a rough transition in state- nationhood. For the first time, the media is able and free to discuss complex issues and demand accountability of public servants and representatives. The civil- military paradigm is also coming under democratic scrutiny in an unprecedented manner with parliament desperately trying to impose a measure of oversight on the armed forces. A proliferation of enquiries focused on the role of the armed forces and security agencies in many areas of security and governance is creating tension in all the organs of the state. The situation calls for restraint and responsibility in equal measure. -- Najam Sethi

There is much talk of bin Laden’s “confession,” but that is rather like my confession that I won the Boston Marathon. He boasted of what he regarded as a great achievement. There is also much media discussion of Washington’s anger that Pakistan didn’t turn over bin Laden, though surely elements of the military and security forces were aware of his presence in Abbottabad. Less is said about Pakistani anger that the U.S. invaded their territory to carry out a political assassination. Anti-American fervor is already very high in Pakistan, and these events are likely to exacerbate it. The decision to dump the body at sea is already, predictably, provoking both anger and skepticism in much of the Muslim world. -- Noam Chomsky

The new feature of Manmohan Singh's visit to Kabul lay in his good wishes for Afghanistan's “process of national reconciliation,” code for negotiations with the Taliban. He stressed India's commitment to seeing Afghanistan at peace with its neighbours. This is the most authoritative and explicit statement to date that India will accept a negotiating process in which Taliban participate. The Prime Minister's declaration that Osama's death created a “new situation” further evidenced India's interest in helping shape a peaceful future with Afghanistan. The United States, trying to rescue a working relationship with Pakistan from the wreckage of the Davis and Osama episodes, received Manmohan Singh's Kabul message warmly. Washington has long supported India's economic contribution to Afghanistan. Now, Washington is looking more warmly on India's broader training offers — not just for new parliamentarians and the Afghan election commission, but also in the more sensitive area of policing. The U.S. is gingerly moving toward a greater consciousness of the regional dimension in shaping Afghanistan's future. -- Teresita and Howard Schaffer

First of all it is not clear who they want to talk to in the Taliban. Do the people, who claim to be Taliban negotiators, really represent those who are engaged in acts of violence against innocent civilians, the Afghan government and the coalition forces? Do they believe that talking to the so- called Taliban, who are engaged in talks for some years now, really help in bringing down the graph of insurgency? Is the real Taliban, which is associated with the al- Qaeda and conducting massive destruction, ready to talk with the US? And what about those who suffered at the hands of the Taliban and were opposed to its way of life? Surprisingly, the Afghan government seems to be sharing a sentiment similar to that of the US and the UK (to get the Taliban to the discussion table). This despite the fact that in the past one year, since the Peace Jirga had passed a resolution backing a peace deal with the Taliban, data shows there has been an increase in terrorist activities by the outfit. -- Dr Hussain Yasa

 

The `war on terror` defined America`s policies for nearly a decade. Under President Obama`s administration, it was quietly dropped from the official lexicon. If Dr Paul Joseph Goebbels, the minister of propaganda in Nazi Germany, was watching the world from beyond the grave in the post-9/11 era, he would have been delighted to see his theories bear such copious fruit once again. Whatever else he was, Goebbels understood how the media can be fed, manipulated and used to indoctrinate the people. He understood how effective propaganda works. “The most brilliant propagandist technique will yield no success unless one fundamental principle is borne in mind constantly — it must confine itself to a few points and repeat them over and over,” he advised. “Think of the press as a great keyboard on which the government can play.”-- Hajrah Mumtaz

Today, our neighbor India has high respect in the world and the world also listens to India not because India has good relations with its neighbors or India is really shining but because India is the largest democracy in the world. Their armed forces are under control of their civil government. Their army and civil system respect rule of civil laws and liberties. In about 10 years of Gen. Musharraf's army rule and now three years of army-backed government, Pakistani forces, ISI and the government lied to the nation about the access the US forces have. They had denied that drone attacks were being launched from Pakistani sites. And now as the stories unfold it is very much clear that Pakistani government has given full access to the United States. The government has issued thousands of visas to US personnel and who knows who these people are and what they are doing in Pakistan. -- SYED ATIQ UL HASAN

…patriotism in Pakistan would henceforth be defined as a belief in the power to kill millions. Since that day, a large section of Pakistanis have dutifully worshipped their bomb, imagining in its capacity to destroy, a safety that would insulate them from incursions by nosy neighbors and meddling powers, from wars that would chip off territory and skirmishes that would disrespect borders The bomb will save us, they believed, it will sustain us in these trying times (we cannot be backward if we have the bomb) and save us from trying too hard (who needs a super economy if you have a super bomb?). In times of trouble and fear, when watching the bombing elsewhere — a punished Baghdad amidst its dusty ruins, a desolate Kabul with its bombed-out streets — these Pakistanis turned to the bomb for comfort, however elusive. -- Rafia Zakaria

To have his followers kill nearly 3,000 people in a single blow on September 11, 2001, and then taunt the US to catch him if they can required a kind of madness with a messianic touch. That is what became al-Qaeda's motto: "We love death more than we love life.'' His appeal in radical circles only grew as it appeared that all the armies in the world were unable to counter such a manner of warfare. In fact, it is young people at the heart of the Arab revolt who are rebelling not for jihad but for freedom and democracy. We should not forget that bin Laden's failure to win support in the Arab world, despite 30 years of trying, has led to the near total rejection of the idea of global jihad by his fellow Muslims. -- Ahmed Rashid

 

Bitter wrangling will not solve very much. What we need is a plan. The militants in the north have to be pursued; they have to be chased after with full force and vigour. The nexus between security agencies and the militants needs to be dismantled.  This task is tied in with many other factors which involve regional realities. These too will need to be tackled on an urgent basis. Without doing this, nothing can be solved. -- Kamila Hyat

The world must now seriously worry about the security of Pakistan's rapidly growing nuclear arsenal. The message from Mehran is clear: If Pakistani terrorists can raid a top-security naval airbase in Pakistan, they can attack a nuclear weapons facility too. Pakistan has the world’s fastest growing nuclear arsenal and a delivery system which may soon acquire continental reach. What happens if fundamentalist Islamists allied with the Taliban and Al Qaeda take it over or attack a nuclear silo and escape with a couple of warheads? The world needs to ponder. -- Hiranmay Karlekar

Benazir asked if the U.S. could provide her with a security detail. “The Ambassador responded that she was aware of two cases, President Karzai of Afghanistan and President Aristide of Haiti, in which the USG provided personal security and both were heads of state. She added that American security would not be consistent with the movements of a political campaign.” Instead, Ms. Patterson offered the Embassy's top security official for a discussion on Benazir's concerns; she also pointed to long-term U.S. government “personal protection” training programmes. -- Nirupama Subramanian Mr. Sharif's decision to knock on the U.S. government's doors for advice on his security and safety, and that of his brother and former Chief Minister of Punjab Shabaz Sharif, also reflected lack of faith and confidence among sections of the political elite in Pakistan in the military in general and the local agencies in particular. -- B. Muralidhar Reddy

 

…even Nazi mass-murderers like Hermann Goring, Rudolf Hess and Martin Bormann, responsible for sending millions to their death during World War II, were penalised only after elaborate, and transparent, trials by a UN war crimes tribunal in Nuremberg, Germany. Adolf Otto Eichmann, one of the chief architects of the Jewish Holocaust, who was captured much later in 1960 by Israel’s Mossad in Argentina, received a fair trial before being hanged in 1962.  I really hate to bat for someone who in his zeal to avenge the Western crimes against the Arabs and Muslims may have ended up targeting hundreds of innocent people, most of them his fellow believers. But there’s something called due process. Every criminal and accused – even the terrorists – is innocent until proven guilty. -- Aijaz Zaka Syed

In recent months, the escalation of political rhetoric against Muslims, the concerted effort to construct an entire community as a sinister bogeyman, demonize their everyday religious practice as inherently evil have provoked exercises in victimization largely unknown a decade ago. Women wearing hijab have been chucked off planes and men speaking Arabic reported to the FBI just for the act of speaking loudly on cell phones. Anti-Sharia bills have cleared legislatures in Oklahoma and Tennessee, all touted as integral steps toward “Keeping America Safe”, and similar bills are poised for introduction in Alaska and California. In the midst of this era of seemingly unending suspicion, the death of Osama Bin Laden could augur the beginning of a new era for Islam in America. -- RAFIA ZAKARIA

… the backbone of the system was the extensive and complex network of couriers on which al-Qaeda was “increasingly dependent” to communicate, the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) noted in April 2003, according to a footnote in one of the files (Gitmo file: 216). In fact, the organisation used couriers for much more than simple communication; the typical al-Qaeda courier had many more duties and responsibilities than the average FedEx man. Couriers “provided financial and logistical services” for bin Laden and al-Qaeda, often “serving as a courier, accountant, and treasurer” and working “in various offices” for the organisation, as was the case with Ibrahim Ahmad Mahmoud al-Qosi, who also functioned as one of bin Laden's bodyguards (Gitmo file: 54). A courier was regarded as “a special representative” of the organisation and many, like senior al-Qaeda member Abu Zubayda, found themselves a “part of” bin Laden's “inner circle” (Gitmo file: 10016). -- Katyayani Murti

 

Most important, Delhi has made a leap of faith with regard to the controversial issue of reconciliation with the Taliban. In essence, Delhi feels that if reconciliation is the collective Afghan wish, India would go along with it. India would, however, wish that the peace process is “Afghan-led.” Dr. Singh declared support for Afghan President Hamid Karzai's reconciliation programme. This, in my view, is an eminently realistic position. It brings the Indian stance in line with the mainstream Afghan thinking. In any case, it was an aberration that a civilisation like India with such insight into the shades of political Islam had a mental bloc about the Taliban. No country today questions the wisdom of reconciling with the Taliban. -- M. K. Bhadrakumar

 

Finally, after nearly a decade, the fountainhead of global terror has been cut off by US forces. In a dramatic announcement, President Obama said, “The most significant battle against terrorism has been won; justice has been served.” Yes, the icon of terror has been obliterated — but the war will only be won when the deviant ideology of political Islamist supremacy that Osama bin Laden and his fellow ideologues fulminated ad nauseum is defeated by the followers of Islam itself. Justice may have been served for the victims and families of 9/11, but its use as justification for a US presence in Iraq and Afghanistan will continue to divide global opinion. -- Aijaz Ilmi

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NEW COMMENTS

  • For Hats Off this is just another opportunity to say something hateful about Muslims! The guy is obsessed with anti-Muslim hatered.
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • never mind taxila. or konark. The holy cow of monumentality - taj mahal.
    ( By hats off! )
  • Excellent article. Changed my ignorant mindset. May this idea spread to all the muslims of the world.
    ( By Sahil Raza )
  • Dear sister Teresa, Thanks for this meaningful review. I hope this review will encourage both serious readers and peace....
    ( By SAJID ANWAR )
  • The Crown Prince is only strengthening the monarchy and consolidating the anti-Iran front. He....
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • Taj Mahal's deterioration is symbolic of a paradigmatic shift in our values.
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • This is so dumb really Turks, Arabs and Persians are not...
    ( By What? )
  • Dear Sister Teresa, You have wonderfully given the gist of the book and created curiosity among the readers ....
    ( By Rajat Malhotra )
  • An anti-reform AIMPLB gives Islam a bad name and is like a curse on the Muslim community. We need new leadership.
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • ully agree with this press bulletin. Indian Muslims must reject the leadership of such regressive clerics.
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • Ghaus Sb says: “The way you are speaking in your comment shows you are not a Muslim.” From what I say, he can....
    ( By Naseer Ahmed )
  • Ghaus Sb says: Those who say, fitna means “shirk” and opine that the early Muslims fought to end fitna” must have meant “to end that ...
    ( By Naseer Ahmed )
  • Good article. The is only One G-d and Muhammad was the final messenger and prophet of G-d. As I write this, G-d is known ...
    ( By Lenny SB )
  • Please read my article on subject of "there is no compulsion in Religion...
    ( By Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi غلام غوث الصدیقی )
  • Related article...
    ( By Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi غلام غوث الصدیقی )
  • Naseer sb, Please read my comment again and again. You did not get my comment. I did not say both...
    ( By Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi غلام غوث الصدیقی )
  • Arbitration is of two kinds - binding and non-binding. When the parties choose binding arbitration, the decision of the arbitrator is binding on the parties ...
    ( By Naseer Ahmed )
  • All right thinking Muslims must welcome such a course. Academic independence of the Universities must be protected and respected. There ....
    ( By Naseer Ahmed )
  • Referring to your comment: 7/18/2018 5:04:08 AM, to you both views are valid and fitna could mean “shirk or polytheism” also. The Quran clearly commands ...
    ( By Naseer Ahmed )
  • What do I mean by acceptance? Read the Quran carefully. There isn’t any verse that calls for tolerance of the peaceful rejecter of Islam. There ...
    ( By Naseer Ahmed )
  • The title question sums up the matter of the article. The answer is the course will discuss in detail how Muslim clerics and fundamentalists misinterpret ...
    ( By arshad )
  • Site Web Israel and Myanmar give more rights to muslims, than muslims give rights to Kafirs,...
    ( By Shan Barani )
  • Good article. The is only One G-d and Muhammad was the final messenger and prophet of G-d. As I write,..
    ( By Lenny SB (Shivarsi) )
  • I fully agree with Faizur Rahman sahib. Such "courts" should be called "Arbitration centers.
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • A course on "Uses of religions to gain political power" would be entirely appropriate. By the way, Obama refused to use the label "Islamic....
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • بہت بہت شکریہ جناب! اللہ عز و جل آپ کے مبارک کلمات کو مستجاب کرے۔ آمین بجاہ سید المرسلین صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم
    ( By misbahul Huda quadri )
  • fve questions
    ( By hats off! )
  • بہت عمدہ ۔ اللہ تعالی ہم مسلمانوں کو صوفیائے کرام کے نہج پر شریعت و طریقت کو سمجھنے اور اس پر عمل کرنے ...
    ( By Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi غلام غوث الصدیقی )
  • Mushrik and muwahhid, Muslims and non-Muslims all equally need to adopt the path of tolerance. One sided tolerance is not helpful. This point should also ...
    ( By Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi غلام غوث الصدیقی )
  • Naseer sb, Muhammad bin Ishaq said that Az-Zuhri informed him from Urwah bin Az-Zubayr and other scholars that (until there is no more fitnah) the Fitnah ...
    ( By Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi غلام غوث الصدیقی )
  • An excellent read that contextualises many pertinent issues connected to Muslims and Islam! Your angle ....
    ( By Meera )
  • Naseer sb, Can you suggest me how many books have you read on theology? From your comments it appears you have been inspired by orientalist ...
    ( By Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi غلام غوث الصدیقی )
  • Naseer sahib, What is theology? Why do you use theology in general term? In your comment you meant that those who follow theology are following ....
    ( By Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi غلام غوث الصدیقی )
  • Before I say anything further, could you please explain your questions? What do you mean by acceptance?....
    ( By Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi غلام غوث الصدیقی )
  • Tolerance in Muslim society earlier was because of low level of outward piety. Intolerance grows as the level of outward piety grows. Outward piety is ...
    ( By Naseer Ahmed )
  • The Muslim nation (with the exception of one or two Muslim countries) as a whole has been blind and deaf to the above advice and ...
    ( By Rashid Samnakay )
  • I fully agree with Rashid sahib.
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • At this rate Hats Off may soon get some insight into his unquenchable hatred of Muslims.
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • This is the time when the anti-Muslim hate propaganda of the BJP/RSS is at full blast to cover up for the absence of any acchhe ...
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • Excellent book review! As the reviewer says, "secularism cannot be used as a pretext to ignore discrimination on grounds....
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )