Baitullah’s evil tactics

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Baitullah’s evil tactics

According to the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), the amir of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) Baitullah Mehsud ordered 18 of his wounded men slaughtered before retreating in the face of the army operation going on against him. The men lost their lives because they were no longer fit to keep up with the rest as they made good their escape. Seeing the operation unfolding effectively against the TTP, the parents of the boys he had shanghaied into his suicide-bomber training camps begged him to release their offspring. He refused.

Baitullah is showing signs of being under pressure by employing savage tactics of retaliation too. Anyone who speaks against him inside the vast tracts occupied by the various warlords is liable to get killed. As he moves from one safe place to another safe place to avoid being hit by the Pakistan jets, he is carefully monitoring his rivals within the Taliban and eliminating them. As he faces what may be the last chapter in his book of unbelievable cruelty, he is carefully sustaining the psychology of intimidation among populations that are forced to live under his authority.

Fear of death will catch up with the most valiant among human beings. The Pashtun nation, known to be the bravest in the world, has suffered the humiliation of being at his beck and call simply because the state of Pakistan was too weak to face him and read him the riot act. There are many not so noble reasons behind why the state of Pakistan became impotent, but the effect of loss of internal sovereignty has been devastating on the psyche of the Pashtun. Used to living honourably, the Pashtun man has had to tolerate being enslaved by the warlords.

Baitullah’s technique is based on the extremely savage ways of inflicting death. He has had people he doesn’t like slaughtered on CDs and then distributed the gruesome scenes all over the tribal areas and the whole wide world. One report about him said that when a commander complained that a local population was reluctant to accept his authority, Baitullah quietly asked him to take a dozen elders of the area out and behead them in front of the local population. Now that people are a little less scared of him they admit that public beheadings were something that the bravest among them could not withstand.

Above all, Baitullah has used “Islam” as a part of his evil enterprise. Nowhere in the world has the risk of being deceived by fake piety been greater than in Pakistan. Warlords in Swat and Khyber have been haranguing local populations on their campaign of “Islamic correction”. They have been inflicting cruel punishment on men and women by saying that these were prescribed by Allah and the Sharia. The authority of the Taliban in Afghanistan was based on inhuman treatment of the common man in the name of Islam; but what the Pakistani Taliban have achieved in Pakistan has eclipsed anything that Mullah Umar did during his dark period of rule.

Baitullah got away with a lot as long as the people of Pakistan thought he was an Islamic soldier and was spreading true Islam in the face of America’s infidel assault on Afghanistan. Tragically they ignored the truly pious men he killed when they disagreed with his modus operandi. Pakistan ignored the innocent local elders he put to death and also turned its face away when he eliminated the clergy who disagreed with him. When he spoke, he was believed; when the state of Pakistan spoke, it was not believed. After killing Ms Benazir Bhutto in 2007, he saw that the public reaction was not good, so he declared that he had convened a shura in South Waziristan and announced that “harming a woman was against the teachings of Islamic Shariah”. The tragedy is that even after eyewitnesses have vowed that they saw him sending the killers after Ms Bhutto, most Pakistanis believe him.

Far from being a pious warrior in the Pashtun tradition, Baitullah uses deceit as a tactic of popular disarmament. The people now know him but are helpless living under his authority. The people’s true verdict will come after the Pakistan army has hunted him down.

‘Forces not ready for South Waziristan offensive’

‘Forces not ready for South Waziristan offensive’

By Anwar Iqbal

Analysts said that Pakistan was unlikely to move more troops from its eastern border with India to combat the militants. -AP File Photo

WASHINGTON: Pakistan is not yet ready to launch a full-fledged military offensive in South Waziristan, experts told a seminar in Washington.

‘The Pakistani military is very overstretched,’ Shuja Nawaz, a strategic analyst associated with the Atlantic Council in Washington, said. ‘The military does not have the capacity to launch a full-fledged operation while it is engaged in other places.’

Nawaz, who also authored a widely acclaimed book on the Pakistan Army, told the seminar at the Atlantic Council that the army would like to clear the militants from the settled areas first, particularly D. I. Khan.

He also said that Pakistan was unlikely to move more troops from its eastern border with India to combat the militants.

Nawaz also warned that because of the delay the situation in Waziristan would get ‘messier’ before it improved and ‘it will take longer to dislodge the militants’.

Syed Fakhar Imam, a PPP leader and a former speaker of the National Assembly, pointed out that the military was focussing on weakening the militants in South Waziristan before making a major move.

He noted that the military was using fighter jets to pound militant positions in the area and had also blocked their supply routes.

Such actions, he said, showed that the military wanted to ‘weaken the militants before moving in to deliver the coup de grace’.

Imam said he believed the military and Pakistan’s intelligence agencies now fully backed the government-led offensive against the militants.

‘There may be individuals here and there who may still have doubts but the institutions backed the offensive,’ he said. ‘Now how long it will take to defeat the militants; depends on how quickly they succeed.’

Imam urged the United States to provide necessary equipment, such as night-vision goggles and helicopters, to improve the military’s capability to combat the militants.

Syeda Abida Hussain, another PPP leader, drew attention to the socio-economic challenges facing Pakistan, emphasising the need for Pakistan to address its burgeoning population growth.

‘The issue,’ she said, ‘could best be approached through a policy that took into account a host of pertinent issues, particularly the resources available to future generations.’

Court Petitioned to File Murder, Genocide Charges Against Obama

Supreme Court moved against drone attacks

By Sohail Khan

ISLAMABAD: A constitutional petition was filed on Wednesday in the Supreme Court, challenging drone attacks in the tribal belt of the country and praying for directing the federal government to submit a report before the court as to who was responsible for causing the “murders” of citizens.

The court was also prayed to direct the federal government to get an FIR registered against US President Barack Obama and those responsible for the murder of “innocent” people in drone attacks. The petition was filed by M Tariq Asad advocate, Chairman of the National Council of Human Rights, under Article 184(3) of the Constitution, making the federal government through its secretary, Ministry of Interior, as respondent.

He prayed to the court to direct the federal government to register murder and genocide cases against US President Barack Obama for ordering drone attacks inside the Pakistani territory. The petitioner also prayed to the court to direct the government to lodge complaint with the United Nations against the US aggression.

It was prayed that the respondents be directed to file complaint against the United States of America before the International Court of Justice or other judicial organs of the United Nations to take action in accordance with international law.

Army Counters US Efforts to Flush Taliban From Helmand

Pakistan moves troops to Afghan border

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s army has deployed troops to a stretch of the Afghan border to stop Taliban militants fleeing a major U.S. offensive in southern Afghanistan, a spokesman said Thursday.

Nearly 4,000 U.S. Marines plus 650 Afghan forces moved into Afghanistan’s Helmand province early Thursday to take on the Taliban in one of their strongholds.

Pakistani and US officials have expressed concern the American troop build up in southern Afghanistan could push the militants across the poorly guarded and mountainous border into Pakistan.

“We’ve mustered more troops from the other areas of the border” to deploy opposite the Helmand region, said Maj. Gen. Athar Abbas.

“It is sort of a reorganization.”

He said the threat of militants crossing over had been “visualized.” He gave no more details.

Pakistan shares a 1,600-mile (2,600-kilometer) border with Afghanistan. The section opposite Helmand is around 160 miles (260kilometers) long and lies in Balochistan province, where U.S. officials believe the Taliban’s top leadership are hiding out.

Washington wants Pakistan to crack down on militants based on its side of the border, blamed for launching attacks on US and NATO troops in Afghanistan. Pakistan has launched offensives in its northwestern border regions in recent months, drawing praise in the West.

Mullah Nazir Sides With Government Against Mehsud Terrorists–(The Game Is Back On!)

Commander Nazeer vows to keep Peace Treaty in SWA

WANA: The extremist commander based in South Waziristan Mullah Nazeer Thursday announced to side with the government by keeping the peace treaty intact.

During a Jirga held in SWA capital Wana, political administration directed the release of six arrested men.

Political administration, 120-strong Peace Committee, trial veterans and ulema attended the Jirga. Prior to Jirga with political administration, Peace committee, veterans and ulema held negotiations with Commander Mullah Nazeer.

Talking to Geo news, Jirga member Malik Ghazi Mhammed said the Jirga got along well for establishing peace and resolving other issues, adding consensus was achieved to act upon the Peace Treaty 2007.

It was decided in the Jirga that the forces would not be attacked in line with the Peace Treaty; in case violation of the treaty was committed, the whole responsibility would rest with area veterans and the Political Officials would be fully entitled to take action.

Malik Noor Ai, Maulvi Mirza Jan, Ameer Gulistan and other veterans addressed the Jirga.

On the occasion Political Agent Shahab Ali Shah directed the release of six men on the demand by the veterans, urging them to play their role for enduring peace in the area.

‘US trains Jundullah members’

‘US trains Jundullah members’

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A senior member of the Jundullah terrorist group says that the group has been trained and financed by “the US and Zionists”.

Abdolhamid Rigi, the brother of Jundullah leader Abdolmalek Rigi made the remarks in a court session held in the southeastern city of Zahedan on Wednesday.

Abdolhamid Rigi was among the thirteen members of the Jundullah who were accused of terrorist activities, Fars news agency reported.

Pakistani security forces arrested Abdolhamid last year and extradited him to Iran.

The defendants told the court that foreign spy agencies support Jundullah.

Citing the defendant’s confessions, the court’s judge said that after the extradition of Abdolhamid, foreign intelligence agencies had incited Jundullah members to step up their terrorist attacks in Iran including hostage takings to put pressure on Iran to release Abdolhamid.

Human bombs: Pakistani chickens have come home to roost

Human bombs: Pakistani chickens have come home to roost

Wednesday 1 July 2009

Human bombs used to be mere puzzling headlines for the people of Pakistan till the 9/11 terror attacks, a part of stories of death and destruction emanating out of troubled West Asia. Then US-led Allied Forces invaded Afghanistan, making Pakistan personally experience the devastation a person strapped with lethal explosives could unleash.

With the avowed aim of physically eliminating all those who are siding with the forces of the infidel, the new breed of well trained and highly motivated suicide bombers strike not only Western targets, but Pakistani security and intelligence agencies also, especially the army, the police and the ISI, which spearhead the US war against terror in the country.

The security situation in Pakistan has been in utter turmoil for the past two years, and it went from bad to worse after the Operation Silence carried out against the fanatic Lal Masjid clerics in July 2007. Since then, it appears the extremist forces had not only gained strength in the tribal areas but also got a foothold in the country’s settled areas. Therefore, as things stand, hotels, police stations, police training centres, headquarters of intelligence agencies, army check posts, military training centres, government buildings, mosques, processions and markets have become vulnerable targets of the suicide bombers.

Investigations by Pakistani agencies show the involvement of several kinds of jehadi groups in the ongoing spate of suicide strikes including the Lal Masjid Brigade, Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ), Harkatul Jehadul Islami (HUJI), Tehrik-e-Nifaz-e-Shariat-e-Mohammadi (TNSM), Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), Jamaatul Furqaan (JuF), Jaishul-Islami (JuI), Fidayeen-e-Islam (FeI), Abdullah Azzam Shaheed Brigade (ASB) and Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT).

The human bombs coming from the Lal Masjid Brigade are those who have either been linked with Lal Masjid or Jamia Fareedia or had sympathies with the fanatic Ghazi brothers due to their ideological affinity. While some of the human bombs had been the students of the Ghazi duo, some were the relatives of those killed during the Operation Silence in July 2007. Authorities probing the ongoing spate of suicide bombings that took place after the Operation Silence believe that most of these attacks were carried out by young men in their 20s coming from the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) of South Waziristan and North Waziristan.

As soon as the Operation Silence came to an end, the agencies had warned that the twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad could suffer from suicide attacks, as over 500 potential suicide bombers who had been studying at the Lal Masjid-run Jamia Hafsa and Jamia Fareedia had not returned to their homes after the ending of the Operation Silence. They had warned that the potential bombers were hiding in several madrassas and mosques in and around the twin cities, and were determined to blow themselves up any time, anywhere to avenge the killing of kin and friends. Hardly a few weeks after the operation ended, an 18 year old suicide bomber killed 22 highly trained commandos of the Special Services Group of the Army by targeting their Tarbela Ghazi mess, 100 km south of Islamabad on 13 September 2007. The bomber eventually turned out to be the brother of a Jamia Hafsa girl student killed during the operation, carried out by the Karar Company of the SSG.

The second kind of extremists involved in suicide attacks are those linked to the al-Qaeda and Taliban network based in the Waziristan region on the Pakistan-Afghan tribal belt. In the rocky and far-flung region of Waziristan, Islamic rebels allied to the Afghan Taliban and al-Qaeda have literally taken control of virtually all of the entire North Waziristan tribal area on the Pak-Afghan border, thereby gaining a significant base from which to wage their resistance against the US-led forces in Afghanistan as well as the Pakistani security forces, especially through their highly motivated and lethal suicide bombers. Intelligence sources say the Pakistani security forces have mostly been targeted by the bombers trained and dispatched by the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) led by Commander Baitullah Mehsud, the chief of the Mehsud tribe in South Waziristan.

According to a senior official of the elite Special Investigation Group (SIG), from the 26 suicide attacks carried out in 2007, from where the heads of the bombers were also recovered, it transpired that the vast majority of the human bombs came from just one tribe – the Mehsuds of central Waziristan, all boys aged 16 to 20. In fact, most of the recent suicide attacks carried out after the launching of the Operation Rah-e-Haq by the Pakistan Army in Swat have already been claimed by Baitullah – be it the Peshawar Pearl Continental blast, twin attacks on the Lahore headquarters of the Inter Services Intelligence and the Rescue 15, the murder of Mufti Sarfraz Naeemi or the fidayeen assault on the Manawan police academy in Lahore.

The man tasked with indoctrinating youngsters and converting them into lethal suicide bombers is Qari Hussain, also known as Ustad-e-Fidayeen or the teacher of suicide bombers. Believed to be the main ideologue of Pushtun Taliban working under Baitullah’s command, Hussain had been running his suicide training camp in Spinkai Ragzai, a small town in South Waziristan. As one such training centre was discovered by the military authorities last year at a Government-run school in the Kotkai area of South Waziristan, General Officer Commanding of the 14 Division Major General Tariq Khan told reporters in Dera Ismail Khan on May 18, 2008 that it was like a factory, recruiting nine to 12-year-old boys, and turning them into suicide bombers.

Qari Hussain is known in the TTP ranks for his strong anti-Shia views and close ties with the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ). The Pakistani agencies are trying to hunt him down given his status as the one who may have recruited and indoctrinated the largest number of people from Waziristan to carry out suicide hits in the country. On January 17, 2009, Qari Hussain released an unusual video of statements from purported human bombs and footage of deadly attacks they claimed to have perpetrated in Pakistan.

The tape, released by none other than Hussain himself, showed youth, some in their teens, addressing the camera about their intention to carry out suicide attacks to background music of Urdu militant anthems. The two major suicide attacks claimed on the TTP video were the March 11, 2008 suicide attack on the Federal Investigation Agency building in Lahore and the November 24, 2007 twin suicide attacks in Faizabad area of Rawalpindi right in front of the ISI headquarters when a bomber rammed his explosive-laden car into a bus carrying 35 ISI officers, killing 15 of them on the spot.

Another important sectarian-cum-jehadi group involved in suicide attacks across Pakistan is Lashkar-e-Jhangvi – a Sunni Deobandi organization which was launched in 1996. The Lashkar today is the most violent al-Qaeda terrorist group operating in Pakistan with the help of its lethal suicide squad, supervised by Qari Zafar who has become a trusted member of al-Qaeda’s hardline inner circle due to his acquaintance with Baitullah Mehsud. South Waziristan-based Qari Zafar, who in fact belongs to Karachi, is not only the suspected mastermind of the September 20, 2008 Marriot Hotel suicide attack in Islamabad, but the most sought after al-Qaeda linked terrorist is reportedly trying to target key strategic installations belonging to the ISI and the Army.

Then next in line is the Swat chapter of the Tehrik-e-Nifaz-e-Shariat-e-Mohammadi which is accused of carrying out several suicide attacks targeting the Pakistani security forces. The first such attack was carried out on November 8, 2006 when 45 Pakistan army recruits undergoing training at the Punjab Regimental Centre in Dargai, 100 kilometers north of Peshawar. Another major suicide attack was carried out on October 25, 2007 in Mingora, as two suicide bombers rammed their explosive-laden vehicles into a truck carrying the Frontier Constabulary personnel, killing 33 of them. The attack came following a warning by Fazlullah against the deployment of the security forces.

Then there are a few relatively unknown jehadi organisations like Jaishul-Islami, Fidayeen-e-Islam and Abdulllah Azam Shaheed Brigade which had claimed several major suicide hits. The Jaish had claimed the October 9, 2008 car suicide attack on the Anti Terrorist Squad headquarters in Islamabad. The Fidayeen had claimed the September 20, 2008 Marriott Hotel suicide hit in Islamabad while the Azzam Brigade had co-claimed along with the Tehrik-e-Taliban the June 9, 2009 attack on the Marriot Hotel in Peshawar. These three groups are supposed to be based in the Waziristan region. There are three other jehadi groups which have not yet claimed any suicide attack in Pakistan but have been found involved in several such attacks in the past.

The first one is Jaish-e-Mohammad led by India’s Most Wanted Maulana Masood Azhar while the second is Harkatul Jehadul Islami led by Qari Saifullah Akhtar, already named by Benazir Bhutto as her would be assassin in her posthumous book. To recall, the two human bombs who had tried to kill General Musharraf on December 25, 2003 by ramming their explosive-laden cars into his presidential convoy in Rawalpindi, were later identified as Qari Mohammad Jameel Sudhan, an activist of the Jaish-e-Mohammad and Khalique alias Hazrat sultan, an activist of the Harkatul Jehadul Islami.

The third such jehadi group, Jamaatul Furqaan, is led by Maulana Abdul Jabbar alias Umar Farooq, once the chief operational commander of Jaish-e-Mohammad and a close associate of Masood Azhar. The Jamaat is accused of masterminding the March 17, 2002 suicide hit inside an Islamabad church during Sunday service in diplomatic enclave, killing five people, including an American diplomat’s wife and his daughter.

And last but not the least, there is another jehadi organization, Lashkar-e-Toiba, which is accused of carrying out fidayeen attacks in Jammu & Kashmir, targeting the Indian security forces. Fidayeen or life daring attacks are its hallmark. The LeT prefer the term fidayeen to the more common ‘suicide attack’ because its Wahabi leadership strictly prohibits suicide. The fidayeen attackers seldom return from their penetrate-and-kill missions as their aim is not to save their own lives but to maximize the frightening psychological impact on the enemy by inflicting death and destruction on their targets.

The Pakistani investigators say all these groups follow their own techniques to achieve their objectives and use different mechanisms to attack their targets. The jehadi group comprising the toughest motivation category is to hit the military installations with the help of its suicide bombers. They include trained, skillful and equally motivated terrorists. The second category of human bombs attack personnel of law-enforcement agencies and government personalities while the third one is deputed to kill the enemy through a car bombing or blast through remote-controlled device.

The Pakistani authorities say the production of suicide belts in Waziristan has become a cottage industry as one household makes the detonator, another sews the belt, a third molds ball bearings, and so on. These are then collected and paid for by the Taliban, who claim in their propaganda that they have hundreds of willing youngsters lined up to carry out suicide bombings. Then there are some definite patterns of the suicide attacks being carried out in Pakistan. They say the suicide bomber generally never comes alone; he is charged up, brainwashed to the last moment, highly indoctrinated and fanatically intoxicated up till the last moment by his handler who makes sure that the tempo and temper of the suicide bomber reaches to the climax and to the extreme just as he approaches his target.

As far as the motivation of a human bomb to sacrifice himself is concerned, a careful study of the life history of 25 human bombs that exploded themselves between 2002 and 2005 across Pakistan showed that American atrocities against Muslims in Afghanistan and Iraq had been the foremost motivation for a majority of them. The study, carried out by an elite intelligence agency, showed that none of the 25 human bombs came from the elite class: 16 of them belonged to the lower middle class while the other nine belonged to the middle class families. Another thing they had in common was illiteracy.

For years, the Pakistani intelligence agencies used to indoctrinate, motivate and train the jehadi cadres for export in the neighbourhood – to Jammu Kashmir and Afghanistan. The human bombs had, however, excluded their home ground from the scope of their holy war. But as things stand, there is a sharp decline in deadly suicide attacks in Jammu Kashmir, with Pakistan emerging as a favoured target of these attacks. Therefore, the human bombs originally designed by the Pakistani establishment to rip apart the so-called enemies of Islam and Pakistan, are now exploding themselves inside their own country and killing their fellow Muslims. Pakistan’s chickens have come home to roost.

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