Snakes, scorpions turn IDPs’ nights sleepless F.P. Report

Snakes, scorpions turn IDPs’ nights sleepless F.P. Report

PESHAWAR: The Provincial Government has set up 22 relief camps for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) of war-affected areas of Malakand Division in various districts of the province to give then shelters and relief. Though the government and other agencies were busy in providing relief and immediate aid to IDPs but, many of them were complaining about the useless relief items at the moment. Khurshid Iqbal who was standing under the direct sun light at Jalaozai Relief Camp Informed desperately to The Frontier Post that a UN Agency has provided him a bag of wheat and mosquito net in its relief package. What he can do with wheat and from where he would grind it, he questioned. He further added that where they can fix mosquito nets as they don not have bed and stand for its utilization. These items were useless for them at the moment he said and added that government should provide them necessary items which they can use. Mardan, about 70km northwest of Peshawar, capital of the NWFP, is the first place those fleeing volatile areas like Buner, Swat and Dir come to, and the government has established four relief camps in the district including Jalala, Mazdoor Aabad, Sheikh Yasin and Sheikh Shahzad. According to Provincial Government, so far 2.5 million people uprooted by fighting in the Malakand Division. According to IDPs in Jalala, the camp contains more than one thousand families, and conditions are “awful”. “It’s very hot and we are not used to this heat,” said Sher Bahadur Khan, 24. “Sitting in tents is like being in a `tandoor’.” Despite the heat, he said, women had no choice but to remain cooped up inside as they observed `purdah’. “Because they have to remain in tents, the majority of women and children are suffering from scabies, diarrhoea and high fever,” he said, adding that toilets and water were far away, so women could not bathe enough. “There is not enough water; the toilets are in a terrible state and food is always short,” said Bahadur Khan. Taimur Shah, 18, another IDP, said that while wheat was being distributed “we cannot grind it into flour.” Naeem feared if the weather got any worse and the sanitary conditions did not improve in the camps, there could be outbreaks of diseases. “It’s very, very hot and these cool environment mountain people were not used to the heat in the plains. Many may not survive June and July, when temperatures may rise further,” he said. But, if the days are bad, the nights are even worse. “We hardly sleep, because of the fear of snakes, rats and scorpions,” said Shah Bibi. “Because there is no light in the night and it is pitch dark, people often enter the wrong tents and that causes much discomfort for women observing `purdah’. Then women cannot go and relieve themselves or take the young ones to the toilet because they fear stepping on snakes.” Another lady Razia said that they can not sleep at nights as there is always fear of snakes and scorpions. She said “we turn over the buckets and sit our children on that to protect them from such deadly reptiles. Mosquitoes exacerbate their woes. The place seems to be the perfect breeding ground for them, said Razia and added that the condition would improve if government materialize it claims of being providing electricity to relief camps. Ahmed Waheed said that there is no vaccine of snake-bite in the medical camps and if any case reported the poor victim might hardly to survive.

Anyone who cares for what is happening to Pakistan,

[A most interesting and relevant comment from Baitullah Mehsud's Time is Up.]

Anyone who cares for what is happening to Pakistan,

by Shamsudin Abdullah

It’s pointless (and dishonest) to blame people like Maulana Sufi, Fazlullah, Baitullah or Osama for the violence & terror that is killing our children. For years we have been promoting and condoning the use of violence and terror to achieve our “national interest” and “strategic depth”, and all this is done in the name of Islam & Jihad. Now the monster which we so lovingly created and nurtured to spread destruction, bloodshed, misery and hate amongst the kafir has decided that we, it’s erstwhile masters, are kafir too. It is the height of denial and self-delusion for us to try to disown them now.

What kind of immoral, perverted logic is it that allows us to celebrate and praise someone as a hero and freedom fighter for Jihad fisabil Allah when he kills someone else’s children only to call him a terrorist when he kills ours? What is this depraved creed that we follow which teaches us that we can do evil in the name of good, and not be defiled by it?

We have been indulging in this moral schizophrenia for so long that we can no longer tell right from wrong. The result is corruption and decay: our Nation dismembered, our infrastructure crumbling (unless you live in Defence Colony), our education a joke, our democratic institutions dysfunctional, our children (those too poor to escape overseas) look forward to either being a perpetrator or victim of suicide bombing.

But all that aside, the most grievous consequence is the effect on our Nation’s soul. Our moral blindness infects our hearts and our children’s too; it replaces the teachings of Allah with hate, unreason & beastliness; gone are mercy, forgiveness, love and peace. Eventually, we lose our humanity and become twisted, hateful monsters ourselves, living short, brutish and nasty lives, just like in the time of Jahilia.

Am I being unfair in assigning responsibility to us, the people of Pakistan, instead of our leaders? No, I am not. People everywhere get the government that they deserve, and so did we. May Allah help us find our moral compass again.

by Shamsudin Abdullah April 27, 2009

Baitullah Mehsud’s Time Is Up

Baitullah Mehsud’s Time Is Up

February 22, 2009

Dan Qayyum | PakistanKaKhudaHafiz.com

It seems Baitullah Mehsud has outlived his shelf-life and is of no further use to his American and Indian masters.

After receiving a kicking in Bajaur and the implementation of Sharia in Swat, he has now been cornered into South Waziristan with his area of influence having been greatly reduced in recent days. In what seemed like a sign of desperation, he hit out at Kashmiri jihadi groups last week, threatening to eliminate their leaders if they did not join him in fighting the Pakistan army.

Accusing them of ‘only fighting external enemies such as the US and India’, Baitullah Mehsud’s ‘Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan’ (TTP) justified attacking members of these Jihadi outfits by pointing out that these outfits ‘do not fight the Pakistan Army’ and commit mass murder of innocent Pakistani citizens like the TTP has been doing for a some time now.

It is also interesting to note that the Afghan Taleban’s Supreme Commander Mullah Mohammad Omar had issued a statement over a year ago distancing himself and the Afghan Taleban from the TTP and its chief Baitullah Mehsud. He had also condemned Baitullah Mehsud in strong words for fighting against the Pakistan Army instead of with the NATO forces.

This recent report in NYT makes interesting reading.

It is unclear why the Obama administration decided to carry out the attacks, which American and Pakistani officials said occurred last Saturday and again on Monday, hitting camps run by Mr. Mehsud’s network. The Saturday strike was aimed specifically at Mr. Mehsud, but he was not killed, according to Pakistani and American officials.

For months, Pakistani military and intelligence officials have complained about Washington’s refusal to strike at Baitullah Mehsud, even while C.I.A. drones struck at Qaeda figures and leaders of the network run by Jalaluddin Haqqani, a militant leader believed responsible for a campaign of violence against American troops in Afghanistan.

According to one senior Pakistani official, Pakistan’s intelligence service on two occasions in recent months gave the United States detailed intelligence about Mr. Mehsud’s whereabouts, but said the United States had not acted on the information. Bush administration officials had charged that it was the Pakistanis who were reluctant to take on Mr. Mehsud and his network.

It now increasingly looks like Baitullah Mehsud is living on borrowed time. It would be interesting to see who gets to him first, the Pakistanis or the Americans. Pakistani Army would be well advised to attempt to capture him alive, something that the Americans and Indians would try and ensure does not happen.

Tell me why, does it have to be like this…

[Submitted by: Maqsood Kayani]

by Declan Galbraith

In my dream, children sing
A song of love for every boy and girl
The sky is blue and fields are green
And laughter is the language of the world
Then i wake and all i see
Is a world full of people in need

Chorus:
Tell me why(why) does it have to be like this?
Tell me why (why) is there something i have missed?
Tell me why (why) cos i don’t understand
When so many need somebody
We don’t give a helping hand
Tell me why?

Everyday I ask myself
What will I have to do to be a man?
Do I have to stand and fight
To prove to everybody who I am?
Is that what my life is for
To waste in a world full of war?

Chorus:
Tell me why(why) does it have to be like this?
Tell me why (why) is there something i have missed?
Tell me why (why) cos I don’t understand
When so many need somebody
We don’t give a helping hand
Tell me why?

Chorus:
(children)tell me why?(declan)tell me why?
(children)tell me why?(declan)tell me why?
(together) just tell me why, why, why?

Chorus:
Tell me why(why) does it have to be like this?
Tell me why (why) is there something i have missed?
Tell me why (why) cos I don’t understand
When so many need somebody
We don’t give a helping hand
Tell me why?

Chorus:
Tell me why (why,why,does the tiger run)
Tell me why(why why do we shoot the gun)
Tell me why (why,why do we never learn)
Can someone tell us why we let the forest burn?
(why,why do we say we care)
Tell me why(why,why do we stand and stare)
Tell me why(why,why do the dolphins cry)
Can some one tell us why we let the ocean die?
(why,why if we’re all the same)
Tell me why(why,why do we pass the blame)
Tell me why (why,why does it never end)
Can some one tell us why we cannot just be friends?
Why,why

Pity the nation… that welcomes its new ruler with trumpeting, farewells him with hooting, only to welcome another with trumpeting again.
- Khalil Jibran

It is not if we will be extremists, but what kind of extremists will we be?
- Dr Martin Luther King, Jr

“In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends”.
- Dr Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Those who danced were thought to be quite insane by those who could not hear the music.”
- Angela Monet

“Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains.”
- Jean-Jacques Rousseau

“Every man is guilty of all the good he did not do.”
- Voltaire

“The West won the world not by the superiority of its ideas or values or religion but rather by its superiority in applying organized violence. Westerners often forget this fact, non-Westerners never do.”
- Samuel P. Huntington (author The Clash Of Civilisations)

“I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life and that is why I succeed.”
- “Michael Jordan

Admiral Mullen Hypes the Iranian Threat

Iran closer on nuclear weapons: US

Monday, May 25, 2009
Tehran producing anti-cruise missile cannons; Rezai says he can stop Israel with ‘one strike’

WASHINGTON/TEHRAN: Iran is clearly moving closer to acquiring a nuclear weapons capability but military strikes to counter the programme would have serious unintended consequences, the top US military officer said on Sunday.

“I think the unintended consequence of a strike against Iran right now would be incredibly serious, as well as the unintended consequences of their achieving a weapon,” Admiral Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said.

“That’s why this engagement, dialogue is so important,” he said in an interview on ABC television, referring to President Barack Obama’s aim to engage Iran diplomatically. Mullen said the United States would approach Iran “with all options on the table.”

“So that would leave a pretty narrow space in which to achieve a successful dialogue and a successful outcome, which from my perspective means they don’t end up with nuclear weapons,” he said.

Mullen said he did not believe Iran’s claims that it is developing its nuclear capabilities for peaceful purposes, but he said the aim of diplomacy would be “to really bring out whether that is how the senior leaders feels.” “Certainly from what I’ve seen in recent years, Iran is on a path to develop nuclear weapons,” he said.

“Most of us believe that it is one to three years (away from acquiring nuclear weapons), depending on assumptions about where they are right now. But they are moving closer clearly and they continue to do that,” he said.

“And if you believe that is their strategic intent, as I do and certainly as my Israeli counterpart does, that’s the principal concern,” he said.

Meanwhile, Iran’s former Revolutionary Guards chief Mohsen Rezai warned on Sunday he could stop Israel with “one strike” and said it would not dare to threaten the Islamic republic if he is elected president.

“My government… understands missiles and tanks as well as foreign policy and knows exactly where Israel’s sensitive spots are. It could stop them forever with one strike,” Rezai told a news conference.

“If government falls into our hands Israel will not dare threaten Iran because the Israelis and the Americans know us and our friends,” said Rezai, who is one of three candidates challenging President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in the June 12 election.

“Our presence in government will act as a deterrent to threats,” said the veteran conservative who headed the elite Guards force for 16 years to 1997, including during Iran’s war with Iraq in the 1980s.

His comments came after an opinion poll by Tel Aviv University showed one in two Israelis back an immediate attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities.

Israel and Washington accuse Iran of trying to develop atomic weapons under the guise of a civilian nuclear programme, a charge Tehran has repeatedly denied.

In a related development, Iran launched on Sunday a production line for manufacturing cannons for warships which can be used against cruise missiles, the Fars news agency reported.

“The final range of the 40-millimetre naval cannon, named Fath (victory), is 12 kilometres (more than seven miles) and it shoots 300 projectiles per minute,” Defence Minister Mohammad Mostafa Najjar said in a statement reported by Fars.

“It can be used against cruise missiles … It is an anti-aircraft low-altitude weapon for use on warships,” he said, adding that it was being entirely built by Iranians.

Iran has boasted in the past of developing new weapons systems only for its claims to be met with scepticism by Western defence analysts.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad announced on Wednesday that Iran had successfully test-fired a new medium-range missile, named Sejil-2, drawing a warning from Israel that Europe too should now worry about the Islamic republic’s ballistic programme.

Four al-Qaeda suspects arrested in Afghanistan

[Didn't Gen. Know-it-all just tell Congress that there is no "al Qaida" in Afghanistan?  SEE: More B.S. from Petraeus: al-Qaida not operating in Afghanistan]

Four al-Qaeda suspects arrested in Afghanistan

Monday, May 25, 2009
KABUL: Troops in eastern Afghanistan arrested on Sunday four suspected al-Qaeda insurgents linked to a militant who has been recruiting Pakistani and Kuwati extremists to the insurgency here, the US military said. The four suspects were rounded up in raids in the eastern province of Khost, which borders Pakistan, the military said in a statement. “The suspects are believed to be associated with an al-Qaeda leader who has been responsible for recruiting Kuwaiti and Pakistani extremists for fighting in Afghanistan, threatening to strengthen al-Qaeda’s presence, namely in the eastern provinces,” it said.

15 killed in Orakzai aerial blitz

15 killed in Orakzai aerial blitz

Monday, May 25, 2009

By Syed Hassan Mehmood

KALAYA: Thirteen militants and two civilians were killed, while 38 others, including 24 students of a religious seminary, were injured when jet fighters shelled different areas of the Orakzai Agency on Sunday.

Sources said security forces launched an aerial blitz on the hideouts of militants in Bizotkhel, Utmankhel, Sturikhel, Ferozkhel, Kalaya, Mushtikhel, Sangarha, Dabori, Ghiljo, Khadikhel and Mamozai areas of the agency.

According to reports, 13 militants were killed and 38 others, including students of a religious seminary, were injured in the shelling. A militant commander Maulana Nazeer was also reportedly critically injured in the shelling.

The jet fighters hit two Madaris at Dabori and Ghiljo areas, leaving 24 students injured. A basic health unit (BHU) in Kanda was also completely destroyed in the attack. Locals have started migration to Hangu, Kohat and Peshawar. Meanwhile, two persons, Sajid and Muhammad Islam, were killed and four women injured when a rocket fell on a house in Kandi village in Sturikhel area of the agency.

Spy agencies face test in locating Taliban commanders

Spy agencies face test in locating Taliban commanders

by Rahimullah Yusufzai
PESHAWAR, May 25: Intelligence gathered during the period when Maulana Sufi Mohammad-brokered peace deal was in force in Swat is helping security forces to target militants’ hideouts in the valley.

However, it isn’t clear due to the absence of media persons in Swat if the artillery shelling or air strikes are hitting the right targets. The military authorities have been claiming that they were right on target and were systematically destroying the militants’ positions through precision attacks by jet-fighters, gunship helicopters and artillery guns.

An officer of the country’s premier intelligence agency said he and his colleagues had travelled widely in Swat after the peace deal between Maulana Sufi Mohammad and the NWFP government in February 2009 and collected information that was proving useful. He said peacetime was best to do intelligence work.

The intelligence agencies have faced criticism from politicians, the media and members of the civil society for failing to locate and pin down the important Taliban commanders in Swat and the rest of the Malakand Division. Earlier, the spy agencies were criticised for being unable to provide timely information about the whereabouts of the Taliban and al-Qaeda figures and pinpoint their hideouts and arms depots in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata). In their defence, officials of the intelligence agencies point out that most of their work has remained hidden from the public due to obvious reasons.

Taliban and independent sources have yet to confirm the death of any top Taliban commander in the military action in Swat, Buner and Lower Dir. In Buner, a claim was made by the military authorities about the death of Taliban commanders Afsar Hameed and Maulana Khalil. Taliban denied the claim and both the commanders later spoke to reporters by phone to announce that they were alive.

In Lower Dir, it was claimed that the head of the Taliban named Maulana Shahid had been killed in military action. Though Taliban have failed to produce him before the media despite promises, many people in Maidan area say that Maulana Shahid has been making speeches on his FM radio. It could be someone else faking as Maulana Shahid.

Maulana Fazlullah, the head of Swat chapter of Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), his Deputy Maulana Shah Dauran, Spokesman Muslim Khan and other important aides including Sirajuddin, Mufti Bashir, Maulana Khalil, also known as Mohammad Alam alias Binoray Mulla, were stated to be alive. Not much is known about the fate of leading Taliban commanders in Swat such as Ibne Amin, Akbar Hussain, Ghazni, Said Rahman alias Fateh though the militants are insisting that none of them has been harmed in the military action.

Most Taliban leaders have reportedly shifted out of Swat. Some reports suggested they could be in Lower Dir district or Bajaur Agency. Muslim Khan is occasionally accessible to reporters and he even managed to give interviews on his new mobile phone.

Certain official sources are confident that both Ibne Amin and his brother Ibne Aqeel, hailing from Matta Tehsil, have been killed in two separate incidents. The military authorities had made a public claim about Ibne Aqeel’s death in a failed Taliban assault on the Matta police station. Taliban denied the claim. Though the death of Ibne Amin, probably the most ruthless Taliban commander in Swat, wasn’t publicly claimed by the government, sources in the intelligence agencies said he died along with his wife and children when his house in the Namal valley was hit by an air strike. There has been no independent confirmation of this piece of information. If true, Ibne Amin’s death would be a major setback for the Swat Taliban.

Another disputed claim concerned the death of a Taliban commander Abu Tariq, also in the Matta area. This was an unfamiliar name for journalists covering Swat militancy. It later turned out that Taliban Spokesman, Muslim Khan, was sometimes referred to as Abu Tariq. He himself confirmed to reporters that he was Abu Tariq and was alive.

The name of Rashid Lala, a Taliban commander for Mingora city, was also mentioned among those killed in the military operation. But sources with good information about the situation in Mingora insisted that he was alive and ready to fight should security forces enter Mingora. Two other junior Taliban commanders in Mingora named Osama and Farooq were also stated to be alive. However, the sources maintained that not more than 50 Taliban fighters were left in Mingora as the rest had escaped. They felt these Taliban would not be able to put much resistance when security forces would storm the city. There were reports that the troops had laid siege to Mingora from four sides, reaching Rahimabad from Qambar side, Naway Killay from Kanju area, the People’s Chowk from Fizzaghat side, and Mingora police station from the Saidu Sharif town. Taliban fighters were reportedly massed at the Green Chowk and certain other strategic places in the city.

Another report said the Taliban fighters were massing outside Mingora in the Kabal Tehsil in places like Shah Dherai, Akhund Dheray, etc and, in lesser numbers in Charbagh. Correct and up-to-date intelligence information would be crucial in locating and targeting the Taliban commanders and fighters in Swat. Any failure on the part of the sleuths would prolong the military operation and, in the process, extend the agony of the displaced people.

Ally deserts Pakistan’s insurgents

Ally deserts Pakistan’s insurgents

Tom Hussain, Foreign Correspondent

ISLAMABAD // Baitullah Mehsud, leader of Pakistan’s insurgents, has been deserted by a key ally – possibly on the orders of Afghanistan’s Taliban leader Mohammed Omar – leaving him isolated before an expected attack by security forces, Taliban sources said.

The commander, Haji Nazeer of South Waziristan tribal agency, had in February formed an alliance, the Shura Ittihad-ul-Mujahideen, with Mr Mehsud and Hafiz Gul Bahadur, the top commander of North Waziristan agency, on orders from Mr Omar.

The purpose of ordering the alliance was to rein in Mr Mehsud who, up to that point, had acted as head of the Pakistani Taliban factions, and force him to focus on fighting the growing US military presence across the border in Afghanistan, sources close to Mr Omar said.

“The Amir-ul-Momineen [Mr Omar’s spiritual title] had written three letters to Baitullah, warning him that his attacks inside Pakistan were undermining the jihad in Afghanistan,” said the source, identifying himself only as “Ghaznavi”, a militant tag that indicates his birthplace as Ghazni in Afghanistan.

“Baitullah has failed to listen to the repeated warnings, proving him to be America’s biggest agent against Pakistan,”
he said during a recent interview in Karachi.
Mr Omar had decided against making public such views because he did not want to be seen as partisan in Pakistan’s internal affairs, he said.

He refused to confirm or deny whether Mr Nazeer had been instructed to withdraw support to Mr Mehsud, but conceded that their future actions “would reflect advice from Mullah Omar, rather than Baitullah”.

The relationship between Mr Mehsud and Mr Nazeer has never been an easy one. Mr Nazeer was a signatory to a peace agreement between militants and the government in 2006 in which he had agreed to expel foreign al Qa’eda terrorists from South Waziristan. His militia subsequently chased them out of areas controlled by his Wazir tribe, but clashed with Mr Mehsud’s fighters after they gave sanctuary to the fleeing foreign fighters, most of them from Uzbekistan.

Their rival militias continued to fight until Mr Omar ordered them to join in February.
Tribal elders in Wana, the administrative headquarters of South Waziristan, said they have seen no indication that Mr Nazeer was preparing to fight.

They said large-scale army and paramilitary reinforcements had driven unopposed over the past two weeks through the area dominated by his militia, taking up positions along the mountainous boundary occupied by the Mehsud tribe.

They attributed this to Mr Nazeer’s record of avoiding a destructive conflict with security forces and to his affiliation with the Wazir tribe, which farms the temperate fertile plains areas of the tribal agency.

Recent exchanges of rocket and artillery fire reflected his anger at being repeatedly targeted by US drones, pilotless planes, which he sees as a violation of the 2006 peace agreement, rather than any desire to push security forces out of the area, they said.

“He has always hated violence because of the suffering it inflicts on us as a people. Right now our annual crop of fruit and vegetables is almost ready for harvest. Nazeer knows that the harvest is key to our survival and would never do anything to imperil it,” said an elder, who spoke on condition of anonymity, citing security fears.

Local journalists, who also sought anonymity, said they had been summoned for a meeting with Mr Nazeer on Thursday, but he had failed to arrive for the meeting because of the threat posed by constant drone activity in the area.

Hafiz Gul Bahadur, also a Wazir tribe member, has been under similar pressure from drone attacks in North Waziristan agency, suggesting a broader strategy involving both the Pakistani and US governments.

The journalists were not informed of the purpose of the meeting, but surmised its purpose was to give “editorial advice” about their coverage of forthcoming hostilities between the security forces and Mr Mehsud’s militia, which is estimated at 15,000 strong.

The political administration of South Waziristan summoned the Darai Mehsud, a council of elders from the three clans of the Mehsud tribe, on Thursday and, as per the laws governing the tribal agencies, collectively gave them responsibility for security forces in the area.

However, tensions exploded on Thursday night when a car packed with explosives was driven into the wall of a paramilitary fort at Jandola, killing 12 people in the market outside.

As expected, the 15-member tribal Mehsud council, led by Maulana Miraj-ud-din, a former senator, on Friday travelled into the mountains for peace talks with Mr Mehsud and returned empty-handed, although it did fulfil the collective responsibility imposed upon the group by the government, local journalists said.

Security forces responded to the suicide attack on Saturday by firing long-range artillery guns at Mehsud villages.

The build-up to outright conflict has prompted an exodus of members of Mehsud’s tribe to Jandola and Tank, towns to the west; they have now started arriving in the nearby North West Frontier Province city of Dera Ismail Khan, residents said.

thussain@thenational.ae