[Here is the so-called “impending operation in S. Waziristan” that has been depicted as a military offensive by the Hindu and Western media, setting-off an exodus of even more refugees fleeing this anticipated next war zone. Pakistan is setting-up refugee camps in the south, not preparing a suicidal operation to start a civil war from Gwadar to Kashmir.]
Saturday, May 16, 2009
Govt mulling over plan to set up IDPs camps
By our correspondent
TANK: The government is mulling over a plan to establish camps for the internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the wake of looming military operation against militants in troubled spots of the North and South Waziristan agencies, while the media reports about possible army offensive have scared the local residents.
Sources told ‘The News’ Thursday the unusual movement of army and paramilitary troops in the militancy-infested areas of the both agencies strengthened the tribesmen’s view about the possible military assault on militants.
A large number of people from the Mahsud-dominated areas, including Chagmalai, Mundana, Spinkai, Aghzai and several other places, had started migration to safer areas. Official sources said local administration had initiated work on a plan to establish temporary camps on a piece of 625 acres of land at Dabara area, some 10 kilometres away from Tank city, to accommodate impending IDPs.
The sources said the Thursday meeting was the second of the series, which was attended by District Coordination Officer Barkatullah Marwat, South Waziristan political agent and army officials. The meeting reportedly discussed the IDPs relocation and it was noted that the proposed camps would cater to needs of more than 0.3 million people.
[Gen. Kayani is the big unknown in this equation; on the one hand, he refuses the US demand to pull troops from the Indian border, yet, on the other, he would not come right out and tell the assembled leaders exactly who is behind the TTP.]
Military leadership says world guarantees can’t be trusted; Kayani briefs politicians on Swat situation; leaders resolve to preserve Pakistan’s sovereignty
By Asim Yasin
ISLAMABAD: The military leadership on Friday told the national political leadership that there was no chance of moving the armed forces from Pakistan’s border with India for their deployment at the western borders.
In a five-hour-long in-camera briefing to the national leadership here at the PM House, the military leadership clearly said that no guarantee from the international community could be accepted.
According to sources, on the query of PML-N Quaid Mian Nawaz Sharif about the situation at the eastern borders, the military leadership told the political leadership that the United States had asked for the deployment of forces at the Afghanistan border by moving them from the Indian border and was even ready to give guarantees that India would not make any misadventure against Pakistan. But Pakistan rejected the proposal and made it clear that on the issue of national security, it did not trust any kind of international guarantees.
Sources said Maulana Fazlur Rehman complained that parliament was not taken into confidence before launching the Army operation and on this the military leadership replied that on the directives of the president and the prime minister and on the requisition of the NWFP government, the operation was launched, and if it had not been kept secret, the armed forces would have borne more losses.
Sources said Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi questioned about the timeframe of the operation and was informed that though it might continue for four to six weeks yet no final timeframe was fixed for it.
The sources said the national leadership was also told that the militants were sending pictures of shaved off faces of killed miscreants to gain public support. The sources said one of the military officials asked the national leadership to support the operation and on this Maulana Fazl quickly replied how it could be supported in front of people.
The sources said when Ch Pervez Elahi inquired how the militants were getting funds and weapons, no reply was given. The sources said Head of Special Support Group Lt General Nadeem Ahmed briefed the national leadership on the relief operation for the IDPs and they expressed satisfaction over it.
The leadership was told that the IDPs would cross the figure of 1.2 million. The sources said the leadership was also told that Buner had been cleared off the militants and the IDPs had started returning to their homes.
The sources said parliamentary leader of the MQM Dr Farooq Sattar asked as to what will happen if the militants from Malakand also came to the camps in the guise of the IDPs. On his query, it was said that if they lay down their arms and reveal themselves, then they could be accepted.
The sources said the military leadership also showed a video film to the national leadership about how caves and mountains of Swat were bombarded.Parliamentary leader of Fata Muneer Khan Orakzai assured complete support to the military operation.
Lt Gen Nadeem Ahmed also unveiled his Marshal Plan for the rehabilitation of the IDPs before the national leadership and said that there was a proposal to provide Rs 25,000 to the IDPs on their return to their homes.
The sources said Lt Gen Nadeem also told the national leadership that those people, whose homes were destroyed, would be provided compensation after a survey.According to a handout, the national political leadership on Friday reiterated its resolve to preserve and protect the sovereignty of the state of Pakistan, ensure the rule of law and carry forward the political process.
Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, in a detailed briefing here at the PM House with Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani in the chair, apprised the national political leadership of the operational aspects of the ongoing operations in the militancy-hit areas, and the steps being taken to minimise the collateral damage during the action.
The COAS also dilated upon the efforts being made to ensure the security and well being of the internally displaced persons (IDPs).The national leadership further recognised the role of the armed forces in the present situation and expressed its grief over the martyrdom of personnel of the armed and security forces.
In the in-camera briefing that lasted for five hours, the leadership also took note and emphasised that strategic questions regarding where, when and how many troops were deployed in each operation or sector was a Pakistani decision, based on objective analysis and full understanding of threat spectrum.
These decisions are undertaken in accordance with our national interest by our leadership, keeping in view the aspirations of the people of Pakistan, the leaders stressed.In his opening remarks, Prime Minister Gilani called for incorporating political dimensions, following the military operation in Swat and some other parts of Malakand to eliminate the militants and terrorists, in order to bring lasting peace to the area.
The prime minister said the armed forces were carrying on the operation with full commitment and high degree of operational professionalism. “I am well aware of the fact that the Army operation is not a permanent solution to our problem and political dimensions need to be incorporated to reach out a consensus for guaranteeing lasting peace in these disturbed areas,” he added.
He said the in-camera meeting had been organised to take the political leadership of the country into confidence on the real situation and answer their questions on the necessity of the Army action in Swat and the issue of the IDPs. He said after having exhausted all political and peaceful means, the government was left with no other option but to call in the armed forces to take stern action against the miscreants.
Gilani said as the government firmly believes that parliament is a sovereign body, therefore, taking the parliamentary leadership on board was essential. “I assure you that the input of the today’s (Friday’s) meeting, along with the suggestions/observations from the forthcoming APC, will be incorporated in our national security policy to deal with the situation,” he said.
The meeting was attended by PML-N Quaid Mian Nawaz Sharif, JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman, Punjab Chief Minister and PML-N President Mian Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif, PML-Q Parliamentary Leader Ch Pervaiz Elahi, MQM Parliamentary Leader Dr Farooq Sattar, Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Ch Nisar Ali Khan, PPP-S Parliamentary Leader Aftab Ahmad Khan Sherpao, Fata Parliamentary Leader Haji Munir Khan Orakzai, BNP-Awami Parliamentary Leader in the Senate Mir Israrullah Zehri, NWFP Governor Owais Ahmad Ghani, Chief Minister Mir Amir Haider Khan Hoti, Chief Whip National Assembly Syed Khursheed Ahmad Shah, ANP leader Muhammad Zahid Khan, Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Dr Babar Awan, Minister for Water and Power Raja Pervaiz Ashraf, Chairman Parliamentary Committee on National Security Senator Mian Raza Rabbani, Minister for Information & Broadcasting Qamar Zaman Kaira, Minister of State for Economic Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar, PML-F leader Pir Sadruddin Shah, Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, Coordinator Special Support Group Lt-Gen Nadeem Ahmad, Maj-Gen Muhammad Zaheer ul Islam, DG-C ISI and DG Military Operations Maj-Gen Javed Iqbal.
| MIRAN SHAH: The death toll of US drone attack in North Waziristan has reached to 17.
Sources said US drone fired two missiles on a madarrsah and a vehicle in Khesoor area in Mir Ali sub division on Saturday morning. Five more bodies were recovered from the rubbles of the madarrsah that brought the toll to 17. Periodic flights of US drones continued in the area created panic among the locals.
PESHAWAR: At least ten persons including women and children died and twenty were injured in a car bomb blast on Circular Road in a thickly populated Berisco area at Kashkal here, when a bomb installed in a vehicle outside a net café near Bargain Centre detonated.
The school bus carrying 15 children passing by the place of incident was totally damaged. The scene of incident being a centrally located place was bustling with life and there was huge rush. The blast followed by heavy firing let loose a reign of terror all around.
Edhi sources said that 20 persons mostly children were injured in the incident. Among the injured shifted to the Lady Reading Hospital here, 8 persons were in critical condition, where emergency has been declared.
Several vehicles and the nearby buildings were also damaged. Bomb disposal squad and the police have arrived at the scene, while the security persons have besieged the area, but the people from nearby were seen crowding the place of incident. Eyewitnesses said that the blast target a net café, which was receiving threats for sometime. The net café was blown up by the incident.
Sources said that police have taken into custody three suspects from the scene of incident, ho have been shifted to an unknown place for interrogation.
[Lt. Gen. Stanley McChrystal’s team.]
American intelligence sources say the military’s chief terrorist-hunting squad has units operating in Afghanistan on Pakistan’s western border and is working on a secondary mission to secure foreign nuclear arsenals if the Taliban or Al Qaeda overwhelm Pakistan.
By Rowan Scarborough
The United States has a detailed plan for infiltrating Pakistan and securing its mobile arsenal of nuclear warheads if it appears the country is about to fall under the control of the Taliban, Al Qaeda or other Islamic extremists.
American intelligence sources say the operation would be conducted by Joint Special Operations Command, the super-secret commando unit headquartered at Fort Bragg, N.C.
JSOC is the military’s chief terrorists hunting squad and has units now operating in Afghanistan on Pakistan’s western border. But a secondary mission is to secure foreign nuclear arsenals — a role for which JSOC operatives have trained in Nevada.
The mission has taken on added importance in recent months, as Islamic extremists have taken territory close to the capital of Islamabad and could destabilize Pakistan’s shaky democracy.
“We have plans to secure them ourselves if things get out of hand,” said a U.S. intelligence source who has deployed to Afghanistan. “That is a big secondary mission for JSOC in Afghanistan.”
The source said JSOC has been updating its mission plan for the day President Obama gives the order to infiltrate Pakistan.
“Small units could seize them, disable them and then centralize them in a secure location,” the source said.
A secret Defense Intelligence Agency document first disclosed in 2004 said Pakistan has a nuclear arsenal of 35 weapons. The document said it plans to more than double the arsenal by 2020.
A Pakistani official said the U.S. and his country have had an understanding that if either Usama bin Laden, or his deputy, Ayman Zawahiri, is located, American troops and air strikes may be used inside borders to capture or kill them.
What makes the Pakistan mission especially difficult is that the military has its missiles on Soviet-style mobile launchers and rail lines. U.S. intelligence agencies, using satellite photos and communication intercepts, is constantly monitoring their whereabouts. Other warheads are kept in storage. U.S. technical experts have visited Pakistan to advise the government on how to maintain and protect its arsenal.
Also, there are rogue elements inside Pakistan’s military and intelligence service who could quickly side with the extremists and make JSOC’s mission all the more difficult.
“It’s relatively easy to track rail-mounted ones with satellites,” said the intelligence source. “Truck- mounted are more difficult. However, they are all relatively close to the capital in areas that the government firmly controls so we don’t have to look too far.”
JSOC is made up of three main elements: Army Delta Force, Navy SEALs and a high-tech special intelligence unit known as Task Force Orange. JSOC was instrumental in Iraq in finding and killing Abu Musab Zarqawi, the deadly and most prominent Al Qaeda leader in the Middle East.
There is speculation in the intelligence community that a secondary reason for Army Lt. Gen. Stanley McChrystal being named the next commander in Afghanistan is that he headed JSOC in 2006-08 and is read-in on its contingency missions in Pakistan.
Adm. Michael Mullen, Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman, this month said that based on the information he has seen Pakistan’s nuclear warheads are safe.
“I remain comfortable that the nuclear weapons in Pakistan are secure, that the Pakistani leadership and in particular the military is very focused on this,” he said. “We the United States have invested fairly significantly over the last three years, to work with them, to improve that security. And we’re satisfied, very satisfied with that progress. We will continue to do that. And we all recognize obviously the worst downside of — with respect to Pakistan is that those nuclear weapons come under the control of terrorists. “
Rowan Scarborough is the author of “Rumsfeld’s War: The Untold Story of America’s Anti-Terrorist Commander;” and “Sabotage: America’s Enemies Within the CIA.”