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Books and Documents

War on Terror

Gujarat 2002: The Battle Against Forgetting
Farah Naqvi a Member of the National Advisory Council
Gujarat 2002: The Battle Against Forgetting
Farah Naqvi

Ten years to the pogrom in Gujarat, I try to look back. But for me, like for thousands of survivors and activists, it is impossible. How does one look back at something that is so much a part of one''s present? And so, Gujarat remains a wound that stays with me always, deep and continuous. I cried often in 2002. I still cry. And I guess that is all right. Because Gujarat should make us collectively weep. And make us truly ashamed of ourselves as a nation. … 

Ten Years of Gujarat Carnage 2002
Asghar Ali Engineer, a scholar of Islam, the Centre for Study of Secularism & Society, Mumbai
Ten Years of Gujarat Carnage 2002
Asghar Ali Engineer

Whatever the case the violence went on and on and the police either kept away or actively helped the mob in killing and looting and maiming people. Tehelka did a sting operation in which it talked to various actors of the Gujarat violence and they boasted that Narendra Modi had assured them that nothing will happen to them and he organized their hiding in various places including Mt. Abu for six months. …

That Horrible Night on Samjhauta Express
Rahul Tripathi , Varinder Bhatia , Bashaarat Masoo

After the arrest of Swami Aseemanand, the NIA had claimed that the blast was the handiwork of saffron terror outfits. The other key suspects—Sandeep Dange, Ramchandra Kalsangra and Ashok alias Ashwini Chauhan—are still on the run while Sunil Joshi is dead. ...

If the Iranian Revolutionary Guards are as professional, highly trained and politically savvy as we have been told repeatedly by Israeli politicians themselves, if they have successfully trained and equipped the cadres of Hezbollah and other movements with paramilitary wings in the region, then why would they launch such a clumsy and self-defeating operation? ...

Nearly two decades after the incident, the country''s premier investigative agency has exonerated Kapse. This is the third time he has been exonerated since the commission indicted him. The CBI did find two “neutral” witnesses, a Muslim and a Hindu. Curiously, it chose to believe the Hindu, who contradicted Mapkar''s story only on one point. But, without explaining why, it ignored the Muslim'' witness''s story, which corroborates the victims'' version. ...

Tribal militia and elders, who have been supporting the Government since 2008, continued to be systematically targeted by the terrorists. Unless the scale of violence in KP is brought down dramatically, it is unlikely that the people will secure any enduring relief. Unfortunately, this objective is unlikely to be met, as long as Pakistan continues to pursue its offensive strategies in Afghanistan,. ....

 

In writing about the founding of the Roman Republic, Niccolò Machiavelli famously said of Romulus: “It is well that, when the act accuses him, the result should excuse him; and when the result is good, as in the case of Romulus, it will always absolve him from blame.” Romulus had first killed his brother and then “consented to the death of Titus Tatius, who had been elected to share the royal authority with him”. From this we get the famous phrase, “when the act accuses, the result excuses”. But does it? -- Ejaz Haider

 

The incredible story of boy ‘terrorist' Mohammad Aamir whose youth was destroyed because of his wrongful arrest and 14-year long incarceration Mohammad Aamir had just turned 18, when one February day in 1998, he was ambushed by a police van. A month later, he found himself thrown against the cold, forbidding walls of a prison cell in the capital's Tihar jail. The charges were murder, terrorism and waging war against the nation. -- Vidya Subrahmaniam

It is precisely such arrogance that led to the loss of Pakistan's eastern wing, and the creations of Bangladesh. More sagacious opinion in Pakistan is already recognizing a threat to the 'Federation' in the vicious cycle of state and rebel violence in Balochistan. It remains to be seen whether a military and political leadership - which appears to have embarked on a suicidal enterprise both within Pakistan and in its wider neighbourhood - has the capacity to learn any lessons from the enduring disaster that is its own history. -- Tushar Ranjan Mohanty

 

Who exactly is a terrorist? But even more importantly what is terrorism? Is it a method of asymmetrical warfare? Is it an ideology? Is it a ‘weapon of the weak’? As we shall see later, there is a considerable amount of debate surrounding the definition of terrorism. One could argue – it is virtually impossible to have a standard ‘one size fits all’ kind of a definition for this term. -- Aditya Sakorkar

Then I knew not, My dreams be shattered And my future be tattered! But they did, they did! They came to loot and ravage; In time they grew more savage; They called themselves Taliban, (The seekers of the truth), But they had not the least truth, They came with daggers and swords drawn, And thus wanted to impose Koran! But how to revive, Our shattered dreams we cost , And bring anew our Paradise Lost!-- Zubair Torwali

Instead of an impartial inquiry, one might have expected the report presents the image of a witch-hunt and indulges in voodoo magic to preserve the soul of Pakistan’s premier intelligence agency. The fact remains that Pakistan has a long history of such crimes. Please remember the names of Daniel Pearl, Wali Babar, Moosa Khan Khel, Hayatullah Khan, Umar Cheema and Faraz Hashmi. No conspiracy theory about the seemingly ubiquitous ‘foreign hand’ can hide this fact. -- Farrukh Khan Pitafi

 

While mourning my father’s death, I wish to speak up. I share the belief with my father that America’s Afghan strategy is shortsighted and probably based on domestic rather than strategic considerations. As Afghans, we rarely understand U.S. policy. One day the U.S. military declares the Taliban the enemy, the next day they’re willing to make peace. Does this policy reflect the realities on the ground? Is it a winning strategy? -- Abdul Matin Bek  

 

A warning bell must also be sounded about the risks of glorifying the extremists` cause in any way by other actors, including sections of the media. Objectivity and balance must be maintained at all times; brutality and barbarism must be shown for what they are. Without this effort, extremist groups will continue to target all those who are vocal about their activities. – Editorial, The Dawn

The West's Afghanistan policy marks a return to these geostrategic roots —this time founded on the hope that religious-authoritarian regimes will provide a volatile region stability. Its growing engagement with the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, its tactical embrace of jihadists in Libya and Syria, its use of the right-wing cleric, Yusuf al-Qaradawi, as a mediator with the Taliban form other parts of this mosaic. -- Praveen Swami

 

It really makes one wonder how easy it is to blame anything on militants; and why these militants would be silent about his death? Since when have they been afraid to claim acts of morbidity? This dead journalist filed a story by way of this report. It presented two sides of a story, and left you to formulate a conclusion: that there is no justice for those killed by a powerful murderer. -- Atika Rehman (Photo- Saleem Shahzad)

 

The only question left is whether he should proud to be a Pakistani after he was facing the trauma of life-spoiling attacks by the ‘terrorist outfits’. This was not the end of the miserable and painful story of Shamsul Anwar. The ‘terrorists’ again hit him and kidnapped his 14-year-old daughter, Madina Anwar on May 17, 2011 from her school at Misrial Road and shifted her to Kurram Agency. He reported to police and lodged a complaint with the SSP but they did nothing. -- Shakeel Anjum

"This confirms our worst fears soon after Saleem was killed, that while all sorts of placatory noises would be made, in the end, nothing would be done. It will be business as usual in a country that had the most journalist deaths in the world in 2010 - 44 - and four prominent newsmen killed this year [2011] for simply doing their job. -- Amir Mir (Photo: Saleem Shahzad)

If today the US is ready to talk to the Taliban, it is because of countless sacrifices on the part of Pakistan. At this time of crisis, it was incumbent upon the Taliban that they insist Pakistan be included in the process. But, alas, that did not happen. Pakistan has never agreed to a negotiating table without a seat for the Taliban over the past decade. But, the Taliban, at first instance, started talks with the US and subsequently established a Qatar office and got a prominent leader released from Gitmo.  -- Nazir Naji

When I read the article “Pakistan’s FATA Horror: Waiting to Receive Pieces of Daughter’s Dead Body”, I was reminded of the horrific ordeal my family and I endured four years ago. “He has never wronged anyone; I am not going to believe in God’s justice if anything happens to him.” We eventually received a call from Khyber Agency. A boy’s voice on the other end of the line informed us that my uncle’s body had been found in a water drainage pipe – his dead body. Relatives rushed to the scene, but all we found was mangled body parts; we found a head with no nose and no ears, a body with no legs or hands. -- Aqib Kazmi

 

These are difficult times for professional journalists in Pakistan. Eleven were killed last year in the line of duty. They were either caught in the crossfire of ethnic or extremist violence or targeted and eliminated by state and non-state groups for their political views. Now an insidious campaign is afoot to target senior journalists who question the wisdom of the security establishment on a host of thorny issues. They are being labeled as "American-CIA agents". This is an incitement to violence against them in the highly charged anti-American environment in Pakistan today. -- Najam Sethi

As the Sultan of Sokoto, His Royal Eminence, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar told President Jonathan, Muslims and Christians are not at war because of the thoughtless and embarrassing actions of extremists. The activities of an extremist minority are no justification to throw Muslims and Christians at each other’s throats. “We reach out to all Muslims in our country from the highest levels of leadership to the ordinary peace – loving citizens and call on them to work with us to fight against the evil of sectarian violence of Boko Haram. They argued that they love peace and cannot do it alone and they were ready to work with other Nigerians to unite the country in the collective effort to stop Boko Haram from breaking up the country”. -- Mohammed Imam Yusuf

Boko Haram began in 2002 as a peaceful Islamic splinter group. Then politicians began exploiting it for electoral purposes. But it was not until 2009 that Boko Haram turned to violence, especially after its leader, a young Muslim cleric named Mohammed Yusuf, was killed while in police custody. Video footage of Mr. Yusuf’s interrogation soon went viral, but no one was tried and punished for the crime. Seeking revenge, Boko Haram targeted the police, the military and local politicians — all of them Muslims. It was clear in 2009, as it is now, that the root cause of violence and anger in both the north and south of Nigeria is endemic poverty and hopelessness. -- Jean Herskovitis 

 

“The challenge for the United States is to strike a balance between its short-term, war-fighting needs and long-term interests in promoting a stable, prosperous and democratic Central Asia,” John Kerry wrote in the introduction to a report released on December 19 by the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations entitled “Central Asia and the Transition in Afghanistan.” Though the US has consistently hectored Uzbekistan on human rights over the past two decades, the country has become more oppressive. The US-Uzbekistan military relationship has had its ups and downs – the US operated an air base there from 2001 to 2005 – and through it all, Karimov hasn’t changed. -- Joshua Kucera

Bangladesh has experienced a dramatic stabilization over the past year, though contradictory impulses continue to create some confusion, particularly in view of the Government's decision to retain Islamist elements within the Constitution, against the ruling Awami League's (AL's) secular commitments in the past. The ongoing War Crimes (WC) Trials and sustained action against extremist elements have, however, pulled the country back from what appeared, just years ago, to be the edge of the precipice, and transformed the profile of governance in the country. Sanchita Bhattacharya



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