When Will Turkmenistan’s Mind-Boggling Energy Profits Trickle-Down To the People?

[SEE:  The Private Pocket of the President (Berdymukhamedov).pdf]

When the gas bubble will burst Berdymukhammedov?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nurmuradov Niyazmuradov

Do not stay aside and Europe with its trans-Caspian gas pipeline. European officials for the sake of cheap Turkmen gas ready to kiss the sand, which wanders “Arkadag” …

Human rights activists are sounding the alarm that Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov, has created a mechanism of the sole and uncontrolled access to raw material wealth of the country, as well as conditions to hide income from the export of hydrocarbons from their own people. Concerns about human rights receded into the background because of concerns of the West of its “energy security”.

Hydrocarbons for Berdymukhammedov – is not only a fabulous profits, but also a political tool to flirt with both the West and the East. His Holiness’ Arkadag “enjoys his” gas bubble “at 100 percent, giving promise that will not leave anyone in the grievance.

So, he gave a “good” to increase gas exports to Iran, Pakistan and China. Do not stay aside and Europe with its trans-Caspian gas pipeline. European officials for the sake of cheap Turkmen gas ready to kiss the sand, which wanders “Arkadag.” Swollen by a “rapture” Berdymukhammedov reinforces his belief that importing Turkmen hydrocarbons properly will pay billions of dollars in his piggy bank.

The fact that Turkmenistan is a rich country, even the children know. But, when asking a question about what makes this wealth of the state, almost all the adults say, “If you want to sleep, not interested.” And yet, Turkmenistan occupies fourth place in the world in terms of proven natural gas reserves. The press often there are reports that such and such signed contracts to supply tens of billions of cubic meters of Turkmen gas. But no one knows what expenses are the money received from its sale.

If you read the Law of Turkmenistan “On Hydrocarbon Resources” from 2011, it becomes clear that 80 percent of the income from the sale of hydrocarbons deposited in the State Agency for Management and Use of Hydrocarbon Resources under the President of Turkmenistan, whose work is not inexplicable.

This structure was established in March 2007 and so far there are no documents regulating mechanism of consumption and accumulation of funds accumulated in it.Berdymuhammmedov specifically requested by the laws confer unprecedented authority to the Agency ownership of hydrocarbon resources of the nation, since it is “working” members of his “big family”.

In Turkmenistan, any investor willing to invest their own money in developing the field, must play by the rules of the power elite. It is not easy, as the government can easily cancel any agreement at any time without obligation damages. An investor does not even have chance to legally challenge such a decision, because the absolute power over the oil fields of the Agency secured by the notorious Law.

However, foreign countries are also not used to so easily part with their money and influence. We all know what “double standards” and if necessary they can be applied and the West in relation to Turkmenistan.

If “Arkadag” counting on repression and clumsy state ideology to keep the situation, it is seriously mistaken. Trying to personally manage the public finances, it is fundamentally undermines public confidence and not only (even his teammates) in the power elite. Its rapid decline could be accelerated. Moreover, the experience of “palace coup” at the tops of the power is already available …

Especially for “Gundogar”

Peshawar Declaration: A Path for Pakistan

Peshawar Declaration: A Path for Pakistan

Political parties, civic society groups, NGOs and policy organizations gathered in Peshawar to put together a plan that could lead Pakistan out of the crisis of violence. This long note forwarded by members of that gathering recognizes the role of the establishment in aiding and abetting terrorist groups, provides insight into the communities affected and makes recommendations for the way out. 

 

On December 12 and 13, a two days workshop/conference was held in Peshawar with the sole agenda “Terrorism – the ways out”. The workshop was attended by the political parties and civil society organizations that actively opposed terrorism. The participants were keen to contribute and participate in discussions regarding the political, ideological, strategic, economic, and cultural and education/ awareness related aspects of the agenda. The participants were divided into Five Groups and they freely expressed their opinions about the topics they had selected by choice. On the first day every group came up with a rough draft. On the second day final recommendations were drawn from the rough drafts.  In a commendable show of unity, members with different political affiliations and shades of opinion succeeded in agreeing upon a single document of consensus.

The workshop was attended by the provincial leadership of Awami National Party (ANP), Pukhtunkhwa Mili Awami Party PMAP, Pakistan Peoples Party Parliamentarians (PPPP), Pakistan Peoples Party Sherpao PPP(S), National Party (NP) and Awami party Pakistan (APP). Civil society organizations under the banner of Amn Tehrik, (Peace Movement) [1] businessmen, doctors, lawyers,
teachers, students, laborers and intellectuals also participated in the workshop. Representatives
from all the agencies of FATA, Swat, Malakand and Buner also participated. A significant number of female participants were also present.

Each group presented its report before the Conference. Every report was critically analyzed, objections raised and recommendations for improvement discussed. It was decided that all the reports should be amalgamated into a joint declaration namely “Peshawar Declaration. A five member committee was constituted to prepare the documentation.

After deliberation it was decided that all the organizations that attended the conference will jointly struggle to translate Peshawar Declaration into actions. For this purpose, ten members Coordination Committee (Rabita Committee) was constituted comprising of  members from ANP, PMAP, PPPP, PPP
Sherpao, Awami Party, National Party and Amn Tehrik (Peace Movement). After the discussion the participants made political, ideological and strategic aspects as a single/one report.[2]

Defining Terrorism:
Terrorism is to create fear on someone to achieve certain ends. A person can be terrorized by a mere threat or he/she can be beaten, abducted, jailed and killed. An individual, a particular group, a sect, a nation or a country can indulge in terrorism to achieve certain objectives. People can also engage in terrorism for money, property or women.

The Current Wave of Terrorism:
Man has been indulging in the ruthless treatment of other human beings throughout the history. The modes of terrorism were different in different times. In the conference all the participants agreed upon the idea that the current surge of terrorism is the most dangerous, the worst type. This kind of terrorism is a complex mixture of religious extremism, fanatics, sectarian, anti-civilization, anti-humanity and coercive ways of life which are most ruthless one. The aim of this kind of terrorism is to impose a self-proclaimed global agenda by killing humanity. What madness is this that the terrorist teacher issue the ticket of paradise to his soldier and marry him to a Hoor (beautiful women in paradise) and the soldier confirms the ticket of the paradise by ruthlessly killing innocent humanity including women and children! The obvious madness and in-human thinking behind the rationale of killing fellow human beings including women and children for one’s material and animalistic yearnings (Pure Wines and Beautiful Women) is beyond any comprehension and does not deserve any sympathy or empathy. To defeat this kind of terrorism of our region, it is mandatory to understand its causes and modus operandi, without which cure or elimination will not be possible.

Causes of the Terrorism in our Region:
The current wave of terrorism emanates from two sources i.e. Al-Qaeda and the Strategic Depth policy of Pakistan. Al-Qaeda is a caricature of Arab Expansionism in the disguise of global Islam. Due to the prevalence of Wahabism in the historical hub of Islam, Arabs have dominated the other Muslims. Due to this Al-Qaeda is a specialist of this kind of terrorism including all its ingredient, organizational structure, techniques and strategies.

The second ingredient contributing to this kind of terrorism is the Strategic Depth policy of Pakistan
army. The purpose of this policy is to use Jihadi Culture in order to counter India and protect nuclear weapons: to subjugate Afghanistan and making it fifth province or like Azad Kashmir model. The policy was advanced further in 1995 and was decided to make Central Asian Muslim states as their “clients” states.[3]

The Strategic Depth policy of Pakistan army has a complete background. The ideology of nationhood
on the basis of religion served its foundation. Cantonments were labeled with the slogans of Jihad Fi Sabel-e-La (Jihad in the name of Allah). Big crossing and turn- abouts in cities were furnished with tanks, fighter planes and replica of the Chaghai hills to make a war-like environment. Instead of a welfare state Pakistan was made a security state. The Objective Resolution (1949) gave birth to Mullah-Military Alliance. The same resolution was included, in letter and spirit, in the constitution by General Zia ul Haq. As a result of religious background, war-like environment, security state and Mullah-Military-Alliance, the first terrorist organizations in the names of Al-Shams and Al-Badar[4] were launched in Bengal . The defeat in Bengal should have been an eye-opener for the establishment and should have signaled end of the military-Jihadist nexus but unfortunately the same policy was practiced in Kashmir, Pakistan and Afghanistan. Terrorist organizations like Hizbul Mujahideen, Harkatul Mujahideen, Lashkar-e-Tayeeba and Jash-e-Muhamamd were installed in Kashmir. In Paksitan Sibah-e-Sahaba and Lashkar-e-Jhangwi and in FATA Lashkar-e-Islam, Ansar-ul-Islam, Amarbil-Maroof, Tahreek-e-Nifaz-e-Shariat-e-Muhammadi and Tahreek-e-Taliban have been operational.[5]
All these organizations were termed as strategic assets. In Afghanistan terrorism was started in 1972. First of all Gulbadin Hikmatyar was brought to Peshawar and Colonel Imam was sent to Afghanistan. During that period and till 1978 Gulbadin Hikmatyar, Professor Mujadidi, Burhan ud Din Rabbani, Pir Gilani and Abdul Rasool Siaf were trained to be the leaders of terrorists’ organizations.[6]
When these people conquered Afghanistan they tried to stop their patrons from interfering in Afghanistan. Thus strategic assets did not help their patrons. Even then the Army did not learn any lesson here and another asset with the name of Taliban was formed which tuned out to be more aggressive and destructive for Afghanistan. During this time the marriage between Taliban and Al-Qaeda took place and they became the rulers of Afghanistan .

Due to the policy of strategic assets the country had already plunged deep into the abyss of terrorism even before 9/11. The riots between Shia and Sunni Sects [7]were a common phenomenon. The suicide bombing in the country was started in 1993. The suicide attack that killed Ahmed Shah Masood was carried out just one day before the 9/11. India and Afghanistan had already been suffering from such attacks. But in due time Pakistan religious extremism spread its tentacles in Pakistan and sectarianism grew. Besides Shia, the Barelvi [8]were also targeted.

This is a historical fact that the US, China, Arab countries and Europe helped Pakistan in its aggression against Afghanistan. To quote just one example 24 billion petro-dollars were spent to establish seminaries (religious schools).[9] Military aggression was named as Jihad. The whole environment was
favorable to nurture the already strong triangular Mullah-Military-Militant nexus.

During the rule of the afore-mentioned religious and military components of terrorism, terrorists from Chechnya, Uzbekistan, Sinkiang and other parts of the world came to Afghanistan. Thus Afghanistan
became the hub of international terrorism. After 9/11, all these peoples were shifted to FATA. No doubt these terrorists are now present in FATA and elsewhere in the country. There is no denying the fact that these terrorists have occupied FATA and some parts of Punjab like central Punjab and Muridke are their strong holds.

A contradictory perception in the minds towards terrorism by the people of those areas who are under direct control of terrorists and those who are less are not effected:
FATA and Malakand are the most affected areas due to terrorism. Similarly not a single village or city of Pukhtunkhwa province is spared by terrorists. Although the whole country and even the whole world is suffering from terrorism and the fact that central Punjab or Mureedki is also the hub of terrorists, still it remains a bitter fact that the people of FATA and Pukhtunkhwa are virtually hostage to the terrorists. The perception of terrorism and its causes or their opinions about military operations, the involvement of foreign hands in terrorism and drone attacks are poles apart from the rest of the country.

Why is this contradiction?

One of its reasons is a natural one. There is a Pushtu proverb that burns are felt where there is fire. The
second reason is the policy of the government. For example the media policy during General Pervez Musharaf allowed massive coverage to those people who were supporting terrorism. This also includes some of the retired generals, a few journalists and analysts. As a result, those living in other parts of the country or those who were not directly affected by terrorism were uninterruptedly indoctrinated with ideas for about eight years which further helped terrorism. Those living in the war zone are eye witness to all that is happening there and they have their own perception of this war of terrorism. A few examples are:
It was propagated over the media, though in an implied manner, that terrorism is the continuation of Jihad against the Soviet Russia. The fact is that almost all of those who were fighting against the Russians are eagerly and actively painting on the political canvas of Afghanistan in order to bring stability to the democratic process in Afghanistan. They are the foremost opponents of terrorism. They
include professor Mujadidi, Burhan ud Din Rabbani, Pir Gilani and Abdul Rasool Siab, Rasheed Dostam and the party of Ahmed Shah Masood late.[10]Only two of the anti-Soviet campaigns are now involved in terrorism i.e. Gulbadin Hikmatyar and Jalal ud Din Haqqani.[11]
Gulbadin’s party is almost non-existent. Only one of his commanders Kashmir Khan and a few friends are supporting him. Haqqani had already joined the Taliban.Uzbeks, Chechens, Sudanese and terrorists from Sankyang came to Afghanistan during the period of Taliban. At that time the Soviets had withdrawn and Dr. Najeeb’s government was toppled. These terrorist did not exists during the war against Soviets.None of the Pakistani terrorists’ organization like Hizbul Mujahideen, Harkatul Mujahideen, Lashkar-e-Tayeeba, Jash-e-Muhamamd Sibah-e-Sahaba, Lashkar-e-Jangwi, Lashkar-e-Islam, Ansar-ul-Islam, Amar-bil-Maroof, Tahreek-e-Nifaz-e-Shariat-e-Muhammadi and Tahreek-e-Taliban had participated in anti-Soviet campaign. Even the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan have no direct linkage with the anti-Soviet campaign. Despite this, it was propagated over the media that the on-going war is a continuation of the so-called Jihad in Afghanistan. It is propagated that these terrorists were part of the anti-Soviet campaign and they have been living in the tribal areas for thirty years where they had married the local women and thus became part and parcel of the tribal society. The fact is that in the tribal areas a foreinger is never called a native even if had taken asylum and lived there for
centuries. Mahsud tribe of South Waziristan had the peculiarity that did not allow a single non local to stay in their area during this whole period.

 

Another false propaganda over the media is the number of foreign militants. In the media the number of foreign militants is portrayed as hundred to two hundreds. The reality is that there are 11000 Uzbeks, 6000 Arabs and 9000 Punjabis.[12] From Waziristan to swat the number of Pushtun terrorist is merely 4000 but despite of this fact the whole Pushtun nation is falsely propagated as extremists and terrorist. On other issues such as military operations, peace deals and the fighting between army and Taliban the
people of war-affected areas have quite a different outlook than those living in the mainland.
For example the people of the war-affected areas think that the army and Taliban are not enemies (of each other) but friends. They have been persistently asking the question why the military failed to target the core leadership of the militants in all the 17 military operations in FATA? This is true that during the military operations the top as well as the second and third cadre leadership were neither killed nor wounded or
captured. Moreover, the news of the killing of many terrorist leaders is telecasted several times over the media but they are still alive. Commanders like Ibn-e-Amin, Shah Duran and Ikram ud Din are the prime examples of such false propaganda.[13]
In Swat, the news that Fazl Ullah is under a siege was three times telecasted by the ISPR but in the same month it was propagated through media that he had escaped to Afghanistan. Fazl Ullah’s close associates Muslim Khan, Haroon and Mahmood were arrested by the militants but six months have passed and nobody knows what happened to them.[14] In the past, Sufi Muhammad was arrested and then released in a so-called peace deal which was imposed upon the political leadership at gunpoint[15].

 

The valiant police of the province once arrested 28 terrorists with suicide jackets but these terrorists were taken by the intelligence agencies took them away with the plea of further investigation. These people were kept somewhere for few months. They were released on the day when General Pervez Musharaf imposed Emergency Plus.[16] Only a few words came to us about their release. It is due to these reasons that the people of the war-affected areas are neither satisfied with the military operations nor do they entertain false hopes. The people of the war-affected areas demand that these terrorists should be hanged in open space like they used to hang innocent civilian or like what they did to Shabana.[17]
These people call for a real and targeted military operation and strongly condemn the dramas in the name of military operations. These people do not support any peace deals with the militants but unlike them the rest of Pakistan talk of putting an end to the military operations and resuming the so-called peace deals.

The issue of Drone attacks is the most important one. If the people of the war-affected areas are satisfied with any counter militancy strategy, it is the Drone attacks which they support the most. According to the people of Waziristan , Drones have never killed any civilian. Even some people in Waziristan compare Drones with Ababels. (The holy swallows send by God to avenge Abraha, the intended conqueror the Khana Kaaba).[18] A component of the Pakistani media, some retired generals, a few journalists/analysts and pro-Taliban political parties never tire in their baseless propaganda against Drone attacks.

The same is true of the discourse of foreign hands in militancy. In FATA there is either military or the afore-mentioned militant organizations. Majority of the local people have migrated to other parts of the country. Those who could not flee are helpless and nothing is in their control. The questions arises
which one of the militant organization is not created by the Pakistan army and which one is serving a foreign agenda? If such is the case Pakistan should raise the issue on UN forum or name the organization which is serving a foreign agenda by using the diplomatic channel.

The possibility remains that there is a second or third tier terrorist with a few suicide bombers and he exchanges them for a handsome price. But this is not possible on organizational level and if the chaos persisted for a longer period there is also the possibility that some other countries would jumped into the fray or the UN would bring peace forces to these areas.

All the participants agreed that the failure of military operations and the ongoing terrorism which is spreading its tentacles very fast are not because of the inability of the Pakistan army but rather it is a deliberate attempt on the part of our establishment to secure its military assets at every cost.

Terrorism and the Identification of Friends and Foe:
The conference agreed upon the idea that every individual, writer, intellectual, organization or country who is against the terrorists is our friend.

Every individual, organization, party or country that provides sanctuary to the terrorists, extend financial or moral support to them or support them in any way like diverting peoples’ attention to non-issues by concealing the truth about them is a friend of the terrorists and hence an enemy of the participants of the conference—an enemy of Pushtuns, Pakistan and humanity in general.

The conference applied the above mentioned criterion to gauge political parties. The participants unanimously reached the conclusions that Jumat-e-Islami, both factions of Jameet-Ulema-e-Islam[19], Jumat Al-Hadis Sajid Mir Group, Tahreek-e-Insaf, a component of the Pakistani media and establishment are pro-terrorists. All the Baloch Nationalist Parties are opposing terrorism and supporting Drones so they are our friends. Pakistan Muslim League (N, Q) are primarily Punjab based parties, and very closed to establishment. There stand against terrorism is vague so they are on our watch list. MQM in it self is a terrorist organization. Though MQM is opposing terrorist but its because that they see their own terrorism vanishing if the new phenomena enters their constituency.

A) Political Recommendations for the Elimination of Terrorism:
1. The conference agreed upon the decision that the strategic depth policy is not only the cause of terrorism but also it is an end in itself regarding terrorism. The policy caused thousands times greater harm to Pakistan than any NRO or writing off debts could do. Due to this policy hundreds of thousands people killed or injured. The policy has pushed Pakistan into such abysmal depths that its foundations are eroding. The conference agreed upon the idea that the people of Pakistan would still be resolute to oppose terrorist ideology even if the US, NATO or ISAF are defeated in Afghanistan and the terrorist capture the throne of Kabul. If the terrorists succeeded in Afghanistan their next target would be Pakistan. Therefore, this policy is destructive for Pakistan and should be abolished above board.

2. Those who framed this policy should be tried in courts.

3. Interference in Afghanistan should be stopped at one and it should be treated as a sovereign neighbor state.

4. Sanctuaries of terrorism in FATA, Pukhtunkhwa province and other parts of the country like those in Bara, Darra Adam Khel, Mechanai, Mirnashah, Mir Ali, Kurram Agency and central Punjab should be destroyed.[20] A brief and targeted military operation should be launched against the terrorists. A half-hearted military operation is only spreading and helping the terrorists. Therefore, the blunders of the past should not be repeated.

5. NATO and ISAF are sent to Afghanistan under UN mandate. NATO and ISAF should stay in Afghanistan until terrorism is uprooted, foreign interference in Afghanistan must be stopped and the institutions of army and police are established on solid footings. However they should offer a clear time frame for the withdrawal of troops. The US has supported some of the terrorist and it still holds a double standard. Americans are blamed to supporting Jandullah Group.[21] Similarly they are least interested in dealing with the terrorist from Sangkiang.[22] Therefore, no peace loving person would tolerate them after terrorism is uprooted.

6. The conference appeals Saudi Arab and other Arab countries to stop financing the terrorists.

7. The Pakistan army should not indulge it self in registration of the IDP’s or Reconstruction and Rehabilitation of affected areas. This job should be done by the civilian authority the army should concentrate on elimination of the terrorist.

8. Some political forces and a component of the media and establishment are supporting terrorists. These people are enemy of Pushtuns and Pakistan. Such anti-human forces should be defeated and uprooted.

9. The conference urged to promote AFPAK people to people contacts and demanded both the countries not to pose obstacles in them.

10. Besides uprooting terrorism in FATA the people of FATA should be compensated for the damage done due to terrorism. A comprehensive developmental package should be planned and the people of FATA should be allowed to choose any administrative system for themselves.

11. The so-called nonfunctional terrorist organizations are still operative in the country. Merely naming them dysfunctional would not help. These organizations should be practically eliminated.

12. The conference demands that Pakistan army and intelligence agencies should not interfere in politics. They should do their jobs for which they have been recruited. Army and intelligence agencies should be made subservient to the parliament and their control should be in civilian hands.

13. The conference believes that every democratic government should complete its term. Any conspiracy to derail democracy will be defeated. The conference condemns the media trial of the politicians and the so-called corruption charges against them. The conference strongly demands that the establishment should stop dividing the political parties.[23]

14. The IDP’s as a result of army operations should be treated as per UN resolution.
15. The conference agreed that Pushtuns in FATA and Northern Pukhtoonkhwa are made hostage by the terrorists. The terrorists and security personnel are apparently engaged in fighting but their targets are innocent civilians. Four millions Pushtuns are living as IDPs. Our schools are closed and our youth unemployed. Whether there is chance for festivity or an occasion of mourning terrorism is feared. Our Jargas[24] are the target of terrorism. Jargas and Lashkars [25]are banned in tribal areas. In settled areas gatherings and processions are not possible.  Local Pushtuns names like Aimal Khan, Darya Khan and Khushal Khan are changed into Abu Zar and Abu Jandal.[26] Pushtun nation is not only hostage to these terrorists but there is also an organized campaign to Arabize them. The whole world is playing its due role against terrorism but the most affected people of this menace are unable to play their effective historical role. The participants in conference agreed that if Pushtuns are given an opportunity to fight terrorism they would definitely deal with the terrorists in their historical courageous way. It is suggested that a grand Pushtun Jarga of the Pushtun of Pakistan should be called upon under the auspices of United Nations. If possible, Afghanistan should also be given representation. The Jarga should deal with the sole agenda “how to eliminate terrorism.” The Jarga should not be arranged on the traditional pattern; rather it should be given a broader touch by inviting all the Khels[27] and tribes so that they can discuss the matter for two or three days the participation of women in this Jirga must be mandatory. It should be conveyed to all non-Pushtuns that these Jargas are actually time-tested indigenous workshops. We believe that this Jarga would supersede all effective counter terrorism efforts. If succeeded, the same experiments should be repeated with the Pushtuns of Afghanistan.

16. The conference unanimously analyzed that the ground realities suggest terrorism is on the rise and Pushtuns are drifting along the tides of national, social, educational and psychological hopelessness. If terrorism is not uprooted in the upcoming months or if it further increased, Pushtuns would distrust all state institution vis-à-vis eliminating terrorism. In that case Pushtuns will be forced to invite UN peace keeping forces. To avoid the worst scenario the problem of terrorism should be taken seriously. Participants of the conference were unanimous in their thinking that all responsibility would fall on the shoulders of the Pakistani establishment if UN peace-keeping forces landed in the area are the world finally opted to redraw the marking of various countries in the region.

B) Economic Recommendations to Eliminate Terrorism:
Fata and Pukhtunkwha province are the most deprived areas for the past 62 years. The irony is that despite of having vast natural resources and being the richest nation, Pushtuns are the poorest, the most uneducated, the most unemployed and perhaps the most displaced people of the world. The ongoing surge of terrorism is only adding insult to injury. To defeat terrorism, all the deprivations of Pushtuns should be dealt with and their economic problems should be solved.

All the aid and international assistance in the name of counter terrorism should be spent on FATA, Pukhtunkwha province and other terror-affected areas. The aid should not be diverted to other provinces or institution as is the routine in Pakistan. Reconstruction Opportunity Zones(Roz) should be established in FATA and the people of FATA should be given its ownership and they should also be equipped with the relevant technical know how. Pukhtunkwha province should be declared as war-affected area and support should be extended till terrorism is uprooted in the from of exemption from taxes and utility bills.In FATA the damages done due to terrorism should be compensated and a comprehensive developmental package approved to compensate the deprivations of the past. An economic database should be established in FATA and Pukhtunkwha province for planning and keeping record of the economic needs. Small and medium enterprises and large scale industries should be planned with the aim of imparting technical know how to the local population. Fata and Pukhtunkwha
province should be granted ownership of the resources of water, electricity, tobacco, gas and petrol and full fiscal autonomy should be granted accordingly. Pushtuns living in four divided administrative unites[28] should be merged to be gather and made a single united province. Full national autonomy should be granted to this Pukhtoon province named Afghania, Pukhtoonkhwa or Pukhtoonistan. All the liabilities of this province in regard to their resources that are due to the federal government should be paid immediately.Canals from Indus should be networked in Swabi, Shakardara, Laki Marwat and Dera Ismael Khan in order to irrigate and cultivatable 80% of the land which will contribute to the overall agricultural output of the country.[29] In order to increase the hydroelectricity output, the proposed plans in Pukhtuns land should be materialized.

C) Education and Awareness Related Recommendation to Eliminate Terrorism:
The need of education and awareness to combat terrorism should be overemphasized. Terrorism is a global phenomenon but it has become the core issue of Pakistan. The rulers of Pakistan openly admit that Pakistan is in a state of war but unfortunately an open willingness to declare war on terrorism is still a far cry. Minor and poorly coordinated military operations have aggravated the crisis even further. A close examination reveals that the menace of terrorism is spreading deeper and deeper into the society by eroding the basic social fabric.

Recommendations:
Media:
The government of Pakistan should institute and initialize a concentrated media campaign against terrorism and activities such as dramas, educational pictures, documentaries etc against terrorism should be promoted. The media should play its due role in the fight against terrorism. Pro-terrorism broadcasts should be banned. The media should also realize that discussion of non-issues further plays into the hands of the terrorists. The political parties, civil personalities and Lashkars constituted against terrorism should be given proper media coverage.

Positive portrayal of terrorists should be discouraged. Suicide bomber is the most lethal weapon in the hands of the terrorists. The experience of last many years has proved that the age of suicide bomber is from 12 – 20 years. This age group should be educated that this act is against humanity and Islam. A massive campaign in this regard should be lunched in all the schools, seminaries, every house and village and of course the media should be utilize for this purpose and repeatedly re-telecasted. If we are able to educate this age group it would been that the terrorists will lose their major weapon.

Education and Religious Seminaries:
Budget allocation for education should be increased. Education should be acknowledged as a basic human right. Education till matriculation should be provided free of cost and elementary education up to grade 8 should be made compulsory. Female education should be emphasized. Admission to higher educations should be based on merit while special arrangement should be made to secure the rights of the backward areas and lower classes. Participatory teaching methodology should be introduce in education. Corporal punishment should be banned in educational institutions. The syllabus of education should be renewed. The curriculum should be designed on broader humanistic goals and the aims of good citizenship. Modern scientific knowledge should be imparted on the basis of research and creativity. Laboratories and libraries should be declared necessary for all institutions and all areas. The need to inculcate the qualities of tolerance, peace and democracy should be emphasized and the contributions of people having these qualities should be highlighted to inspire the youth. All the material regarding hate, prejudice and Jihad should be removed from the curriculum. Sectarianism and religious hatred in any form should be termed as terrorism and the persons involved in such activities should be severely punished. All the seminaries that have direct or indirect link with terrorists should be closed and ‘Fatwas’ (Religious Decree) should be obtained from the remaining against the current terrorists. Orthodox seminaries should be streamlined and made answerable to the government. Old history of the region and the consequent major historical events should be incorporated in the curriculum. The curriculum should cater for broader national, regional and international understanding. Healthy co-curricular activities should be made compulsory.
Gender equality should be ensured in Education and it should be taught to the students. Discriminatory customs, traditions, laws and curriculum against women should be undone. Parent Teachers Association/ council should also be made compulsory for every school. Students Unions should be reinstated and literary and cultural activities should be termed mandatory in colleges.

D) Cultural Recommendation for the Elimination of Terrorism:
Pushtun nation has 6000 years old strong cultural heritage. Pushtun society and culture is the main target of the current wave of terrorism. Jargas, Lashkars and Collective Responsibility are the three hallmarks of social and cultural fabrics in the tribal areas. Terrorism has targeted these three pillars of the tribal structures in a very organized way. As a result the society has become vulnerable. If we empower Pushtuns socially and culturally it would mean we have won 50% of the war against terror.

1. There is a dire need to instill a new life in Jarga, Hujra [30]and Lashkar and reorganize them on modern modalities.

2. Arts Councils should be established in every district.

3. Community Centers should be set up in every district.

4. Pushtu Literary and Cultural Centers should be organized keeping the Press Clubs modality in view.

5. In this regard the literary organizations which are already contributing should be supported and Peace Committees should be organized in all parts of FATA and Pukhtunkwha province.

6. All illegal FM channels should be closed at once and the perpetrators should be severely dealt with.

7. FM channels should be started by the government to promote peace, development and Pushtun culture.

8. The artists who suffered due to terrorism should be compensated on emergency footings The female artists must also be compensated.

9. Fine Arts departments should be opened in colleges and universities and other educational institutions should be encouraged in this regard.

10.Pakistani media should take measures to discourage the negative trends of presenting Pushtuns as backward, ignorant, extremists and terrorists.

11. A national TV channel for Pushtuns should be started.

12. All those cultural activates should be banned which are against the basic human rights especially against the rights of women.

13. In FATA and Pukhtunkwha museums related to the historical, literary and political personalities should be established for example Khushal Khan Khattak, Aimal Khan Momand, Darya Khan Afridi, Umra Khan, Pir Rokhan, Faqir Ipi, Baacha Khan, Abbdul Samad Khan Achakzai and Sanubar Hussain Kaka Ji.[31]

14. Pushtu should be declared as official language and it should be made the language of education courts and offices.

15. The sign boards should be written in mother tongue.

Declaring Sanity In Peshawar

Declaring sanity

Declaring sanity

In March 2010 animated conspiracy theorist, TV personality and poster-boy for stylised sofa-warming-jihad, Zaid Hamid finally met his nemesis at the Peshawar University.

Hamid, who till then, had been enjoying a virtual free run on certain TV channels and on privately-owned campuses, was chased away by large sections of the audience that turned up to listen to him speak at the state-owned Peshawar University.

As Hamid’s speech began being booed at, Hamid made a quick exit from the premises only to face another crowd of students outside who shouted slogans against him, and pelted his car with stones.

Suddenly a man who was lovingly being courted by TV channels and student bodies and administration of private educational institutions, was angrily courted out by the students of a state-owned university.

They accused the university administration for allowing a ‘fitna’ (provocateur) and ‘agent of military establishment’ to speak at the university.

Initial inquiry suggested that the main ‘perpetrators’ behind the incident were members of PkSF (the student-wing of the Awami National Party) and the PSF (the student-wing of the Pakistan Peoples Party). What’s more, the protest against Hamid was also joined by the right-wing IJT (the student-wing of the Jamat Islami).

It is interesting to note that IJT that is a traditional and ideological foe of organisations like PkSF and PSF was also present in giving Hamid a hostile send-away.

Further investigations into the matter revealed the narrative that had driven the students to confront Hamid. The narrative (that we will discuss later in the piece) was constructed by a little known organisation called the Aman Tehreek (Peace Movement).

The truth was it was not exactly a small outfit, but an umbrella organisation under which a number of mainstream progressive parties, student organisations and members of the civil society had gathered to protest not only against extremist outfits such as al Qaeda and the Taliban, but also against the way the Pakistani military establishment and media had been engaging with these organisations.

But since the Tehreek’s narratives on religious extremism, terrorism, the military-establishment and the American drone attacks were largely anti-theistic to the ones toed by the largely right-wing mainstream electronic media, its activities were never given much space.

Recently the Tehreek came into focus again when its members vehemently protested in the streets of Peshawar against the Difa-e-Pakistan Council – an umbrella organisation of right-wing Islamic parties, jihadist outfits and pro-establishment politicians.

The Council, that also has in its ranks members of some ‘banned’ sectarian organisations, is accused by detractors for being a front organisation of those sections of the Pakistani intelligence agencies that are suspected of having links and sympathies with some extremist and sectarian organisations.

Radical peace

So what is the Aman Tehreek? It is an umbrella organisation that was formed in 2009 by members of Peshawar’s civil society.

It was conceived to draw out a ‘peace plan’ for the people of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), a province at the centre of a rather enigmatic war being fought between the Pakistan military and Islamist terror outfits.

In December 2009, the Tehreek organised an elaborate seminar in Peshawar in which members of the civil society and NGOs were invited. Also present were delegations from mainstream secular political parties such as the Awami National Party (ANP), Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), Paktunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP), and the Baloch National Party (NP).

The Aman Tehreek was represented by a number of progressive intellectuals, lawyers, businessmen, doctors, and student and labour leaders.

Various delegates at the seminar presented their reports on the issue of extremism and terrorism in Pakistan. These reports were then critically evaluated and discussed among the delegates. After a hectic round of discussions, it was decided by the participants that a synthesis be constructed from the discussions. This synthesis was then expressed as a joint declaration, called the ‘Peshawar Declaration’ (PD).

Of hooris, ababeels and liars!

The Peshawar Declaration (PD) suggests that currently Pakistan is experiencing one of the most dangerous and complex kinds of terrorism. PD assails the indoctrination techniques of both the terrorists, as well as the military in which both the terrorist and the soldier are promised paradise and hooris for killing people that also include women and children.

PD states two sources of terrorism in Pakistan: (1) Militant Islamist organisations like al Qaeda and the Taliban and (2) the ‘Strategic Depth’ policy of the Pakistani military-establishment.

Interestingly, the Declaration describes the al Qaeda as ‘a caricature of (‘Wahabi/Salafi’) Arab expansionism in the disguise of global Islam.’

The second factor according to the Declaration that is contributing to the growth of extremist of terrorism is the ‘Strategic Depth’ policy of the Pakistan Army. The purpose of this policy is ‘to use Jihadi culture in order to counter India and protect nuclear weapons, and to subjugate Afghanistan by making it Pakistan’s fifth province on the Azad Kashmir model.’

The Declaration also elaborates on the psychological and cultural aspects of the Strategic Depth policy:

‘The Strategic Depth policy of the Pakistan army has a complete background. The ideology of nationhood on the basis of religion serves its foundation. Cantonments were labeled with the slogans of Jihad Fi Sabel-e-La (Jihad in the name of Allah). Big crossings and roundabouts in the cities were furnished with tanks, fighter planes and replicas of the Chaghai hills (where Pakistan first tested its nuclear bombs) to make a war-like environment.’

‘Instead of a welfare state Pakistan was made a security state. The Objective Resolution (1949) gave birth to Mullah-Military Alliance. The same resolution was included, in letter and spirit, in the constitution by General Ziaul Haq … Terrorist organisations like Hizbul Mujahideen, Harkatul Mujahideen, Lashkar-e-Tayeeba and Jash-e-Muhamamd were installed in Kashmir. In Paksitan Sibah-e-Sahaba and Lashkar-e-Jhangwi and in Fata Lashkar-e-Islam, Ansar-ul-Islam, Amarbil-Maroof, Tahreek-e-Nifaz-e-Shariat-e-Muhammadi and Tahreek-e-Taliban have been operational … All these organisations are termed as strategic assets (by the military).’

The Declaration informs that the US, China, Arab countries and Europe helped Pakistan in its aggression against Afghanistan (in the 1980s).

Twenty-four billion petro-dollars were spent to establish seminaries (religious schools) that implanted extremist ideas in the minds of young Pakistanis and Afghans. Military aggression was explained as Jihad.

The Declaration also assails the dictatorship of General Parvez Musharraf for allowing the media to give coverage to those people who were supporting jihadist organisations and the military’s Strategic Depth policy, such as retired generals, a few journalists and so-called ‘defense analysts’.

The Declaration laments that as a result those living in other parts of the country (that are outside the war-torn areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa) or those who were not directly affected by terrorism ‘were uninterruptedly indoctrinated with ideas for about eight years which further helped terrorism.’

PD then goes on to suggest that those residing within and near the areas that are directly in the grip of extremism and terrorism have their own view of the issue, a view that is quite different than the one being propagated by the military and the media:

‘It was propagated over the media that terrorism is the continuation of Jihad against Soviet Russia. The fact is that almost all those who fought against the Russians are now actually working to bring stability to the democratic process in Afghanistan. They are the foremost opponents of terrorism …. Only two of the anti-Soviet groups are now involved in terrorism i.e. Gulbadin Hikmatyar and Jalal ud Din Haqqani.’

The Declaration also laments the fact that due to the media, the image of the Pushtuns has been distorted and they are now seen as being extremists.

It then continues about how those directly affected by extremist violence have a different view about the issue than those living away from war and terror, and are being fed news and perceptions about the subject by the military and the media:

 … the people of the war-affected areas think that the army and Taliban are actually partners. They have been persistently asking the question why the military failed to target the core leadership of the militants in all the 17 military operations in Fata?’

‘These people (residing in war-torn areas) call for a real and targeted military operation … These people do not support any peace deals with the militants but unlike them the rest of Pakistan talks of putting an end to the military operations and resuming the so-called peace deals.’

By observing the above, the Declaration lays bare the anxiety and anger of those sections of the society and political circles who have been criticising the military, the media and some politicians who have been misrepresenting the views and emotions of those Pakistanis stuck in areas dominated by extremist/terrorist organisations.
PD claims that most people in the tribal areas of KP actually call the American drones, Ababeel (the mythical holy swallows [mentioned in the Quran] that were send by Allah to avenge Abraha, the intended conqueror the Kaaba):

‘The issue of (US) drone attacks is the most important one. The people of the war-affected areas are actually satisfied with the drone attacks which they support the most …  Even some people in Waziristan compare Drones with Ababeels. A component of the Pakistani media, some retired generals, a few journalists/analysts and pro-Taliban political parties never tire in their baseless propaganda against the drone attacks.’

The Declaration makes the following recommendations: (Edited version)

• The Strategic Depth policy is not only the cause of terrorism but it is an end in itself regarding terrorism … If the terrorists succeeded in Afghanistan their next target would be Pakistan. Therefore, this policy is destructive for Pakistan and should be abolished.
• Sanctuaries of terrorism in Fata, KP and central Punjab should be destroyed. A brief and targeted military operation should be launched against the terrorists. A half-hearted military operation is only spreading and helping the terrorists.
• Nato forces were sent to Afghanistan under UN mandate. However they should offer a clear time frame for the withdrawal of troops. The US has supported some of the terrorists. Americans are blamed for supporting Jandullah. Similarly they are least interested in dealing with the terrorists from Sangkiang.
• Saudi Arab and other Arab countries should stop financing terrorists.
• Some political forces and a component of the media and establishment are supporting terrorists. Such forces should be uprooted.
• Besides uprooting terrorism in Fata, the people of Fata should be compensated for the damage done due to terrorism. A comprehensive developmental package should be planned and the people of Fata should be allowed to choose any administrative system for themselves.
• The so-called banned terrorist organisations are still operative in the country. Merely banning them would not help. These organisations should be practically eliminated.
• Pakistan army and intelligence agencies should not interfere in politics.
• Every democratic government should be allowed to complete its term. Any conspiracy to derail democracy should be defeated.
• All the aid and international assistance in the name of counter terrorism should be spent on Fata, KP and other terror-affected areas.
• Full national autonomy should be granted to KP province.
• The need of education and awareness to combat terrorism should be overemphasised.
• The government of Pakistan should institute and initialise a concentrated media campaign against terrorism.
• The media should play its due role in the fight against terrorism. Pro-terrorism broadcasts should be banned. The political parties, civil personalities and Lashkars who are against terrorism should be given proper media coverage.
• Positive portrayal of terrorists should be discouraged (in the media).
• Budget allocation for education should be increased. Education should be acknowledged as a basic human right. Education till matriculation should be provided free of cost and elementary education up to grade eight should be made compulsory. Female education should be emphasised.
• The syllabus of education should be renewed. The curriculum should be designed on broader humanistic goals. Modern scientific knowledge should be imparted on the basis of research and creativity. Laboratories and libraries should be declared necessary for all institutions. The need to inculcate the qualities of tolerance, peace and democracy should be emphasised and the contributions of people having these qualities should be highlighted to inspire the youth. All the material regarding hate, prejudice and Jihad should be removed from the curriculum.
• Gender equality should be ensured in education and it should be taught to the students.
• Arts Councils should be established in every district.
• Community Centers should be set up in every district.
• All illegal FM channels should be closed.
• All those cultural activates should be banned which are against the basic human rights, especially against the rights of women.

You can read the complete document of the Peshawar Declaration:

In English
In Urdu

Pakistani Jirga Orders Killing of Young Couple Who Married for Love

[This could not happen in a civilized country.  In a civilized country, such a thing might happen behind closed doors or walls, but the members of the “jirga” would stand before a court on murder charges.]

Jirga orders killing of free-will marriage couple

Sources have also revealed that a lashkar has been formed for the execution of the decisions and will be led by Ammamoon Chandio and Habib Chandio. PHOTO: FILE

LAHORE: A jirga held in the Basti Ramday area of Rahim Yar Khan district has decided to kill a couple who married out of love, The Express Tribune has learnt. They have also decided to attack the boy’s house.

The jirga was attended by around 150 people of the community and was held at the house of Mukhtiar Chandio, the father of the girl. Two police constables also attended the jirga in a personal capacity as they are relatives of the couple, sources said.

Sources have also revealed that a lashkar has been formed for the execution of the decisions and will be led by Ammamoon Chandio and Habib Chandio.

Station House Officer (SHO) Maqbool Tatla, while talking to The Express Tribune, said that he had sent Assistant Sub-Inspector Ismail along with the constables for the whereabouts of the incident. He said that he was on his way to Basti Ramday along with other personnel.

The SHO said that no written application had been received from either side regarding the jirga. He said the girl’s parents had not filed a report on her going missing either.

He said that if the jirga had taken the decisions, then the boy’s side should approach the police for protection of the couple and the house.

The SHO said that action will be taken according to the law against those who participated in the jirga.

ISAF containers case: Supreme court orders forensic inquiry

ISAF containers case: Supreme court orders forensic inquiry

[IMG] 
ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court of Pakistan (SC) on Tuesday ordered a forensic inquiry into the International Security Assistance Force (Isaf) containers case.
A three-member bench headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry was hearing the case.
Chairman Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) Salman Siddique told the court that the issue of commercial containers had been forwarded to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB).
The chief justice said that NAB was not taking the initiative in the case and was waiting for others to do so.
An internal inquiry by FBR had revealed that around 29,000 containers bound for Afghanistan went missing in Pakistan – a significantly larger figure that the one mentioned in the report of the Federal Tax Ombudsman (FTO), which had quoted that 7,922 containers had gone missing.
Siddique told the Supreme Court that the FBR had to recover duty and tax evasion worth over Rs55 billion. The chief justice remarked that the Supreme Court also wanted that the state’s money should come back to where it belongs.
He added that clearance collectors have adjudicated 108 cases against 184 containers, so far, whereas total liability adjudged against them is Rs424 million (duty & taxes) with a penalty of Rs210 million.
The court has adjourned the hearing till January 2.
The issue of missing Nato/Isaf containers had been raised in the House by Senator Ilyas Bilour of Awami National Party (ANP), who had alleged that the National Logistics Cell was the main culprit. He further claimed that the trucks loaded at Port Qasim had been sold at Jodia Bazaar, Karachi.

Army In Line for A Chunk of the NATO Profit, As An Indirect Consequence of Salala Attack

[Over the past three and a half months the US and NATO have learned the true cost of the Afghan war, giving them enough time to realize the utter impossibility of trying to use its highly touted NDN to either run the war or to handle the traffic of the Western armies leaving Afghanistan.   Now we are left with the same glaring inconsistencies that were leftover after the 911 attacks–“Who profits from the attack?”  In this case, the Pak Army will profit directly from supplying NATO’s new transportation deal, but does that imply that they had a hand in causing the Salala attack?  I don’t think that there is any real evidence to support such a claim, but this scenario does fit the Generals’ M.O.  They have been known to frequently use this tactic to overcome popular resistance to their plans in the past–let bad things happen, (like letting Sufi Mohammed have power in Swat) so that the people can suffer from their mistakes, forcing them to learn from their misery.  Letting things happen is not the same as causing them to happen, but when the people who might have let the big bad wolf in were responsible for national security, heads should roll. 

This is effectively what has been done with NATO, by letting them make the fatal mistake at Salala, they were set-up for this big fall, so that they would learn the price of expecting Pakistan to continue giving the West a “free ride” from Karachi to Khyber.  All of this has now changed…All for the price of 24 brave Frontier troops.]

Army has its eye on Nato supplies deal

PR conducted trial runs from Karachi to Peshawar and from Karachi to Chaman to not just see if the rail routes worked but also how long the journey took. “The journey to Chaman took seven days which was an improvement on the trucks as the increasing number of FC checkpoints was causing delays,” — File Photo

ISLAMABAD: The bankrupt Pakistan Railways management has pulled off the mother of all deals with the NLC, while the army is working hard behind the scenes for an equally big deal with the United States.

In the first week of February, railways signed a deal with the military-run National Logistics Cell (NLC) under which the cell will repair 30 railway locomotives of which 15 will be returned to the railways to use. The other 15 will be used by the NLC to carry freight booked by the NLC.

What does the NLC get out of this deal? This was a question that proved hard to answer as the NLC and the ISPR never bothered to reply to any questions despite a weeklong wait.

However, Dawn has learnt that the military is gearing up to earn big bucks from the transport of US/Nato/Isaf supplies via Pakistan’s land routes in the near future and this is what is behind the NLC deal with the railways.

In fact, negotiations between the Pakistan military and the US started as far back as 2009 for a share of the transport pie that has earned many individuals and companies in this country millions since the start of the war in Afghanistan over a decade ago.

A source within a transport company that carries military supplies to Afghanistan confirmed that trial runs were carried out at the request of the American government in 2009 and 2010; from Karachi to Peshawar and from Karachi to Chaman to not just see if the rail routes worked but also how long the journey took. “The journey to Chaman took seven days which was an improvement on the trucks as the increasing number of FC checkpoints was causing delays,” the source said.

It now appears that while the US waits for the parliamentary review of bilateral relations that was ordered after the Salala incident, behind the scenes the two sides are negotiating the terms and conditions for transporting Nato and American supplies to Afghanistan.

An official in the Foreign Office confirmed that the Americans, Nato officials based in Afghanistan, the NLC and the Foreign Office were working out some plan to use the railway for supplies to Nato forces in Afghanistan.

The recent trip by the newly appointed ambassador to the US, Sherry Rehman, to Pakistan was part of these negotiations, the official said.

This, however, is not the only price that is being demanded. Fees to use the roads as well as a charge at the port may also be negotiated.

The bi-partisan and bi-cameral Parliamentary Committee on National Security has also demanded that a fee be imposed on Nato trucks using roads in Pakistan as well as charging them around Rs30 billion for the repair of roads.

There is a third fee that may also witness a hike once these negotiations are over, although it is not confirmed.

At the Karachi port, goods for Afghanistan are charged at the rate of Rs15,000 per piece, while goods that have arrived from Afghanistan and are on the way out are charged Rs20,000.This fee was imposed in 2010 before which the NLC charged Rs5,000 per item for goods on way to Afghanistan. One reason these negotiations have become so important is that the country is trying to thrash out a deal where none existed to begin with.

After the 9/11 attacks and the quick decision of the allied states to invade Afghanistan, Pakistan could not negotiate any terms, monetary or otherwise, for the movement of US and Nato supplies through it.

As a result, the US reserved the right to choose the companies for the transportation of its supplies.

For Nato/Isaf and British military supplies, the NLC could select or nominate companies.

As a result, Pakistan was used as a route without the state making any money from a business that was worth big bucks.

Over time, Pakistan’s land routes became an important part of the war effort.

According to one estimate, the American supplies constitute about 70 per cent of the goods transported through Pakistan.

US Transcom Commander Gen William Fraser testified this year that “in 2011 more than 35,000 containers were delivered” through Pakistan.

When US embassy’s spokesman Mark Stroh was asked about the deal between the NLC and the railways, he said: “We are aware of the agreement but since the ground shipping lines remain closed, the effects of the agreement with regard to our shipping remain to be seen.”

However, observers say there is a chance that the Pakistan Army will end up with some share of the pie as no other route is as economical as the one through Pakistan.

At the moment, the Americans and the allies are flying in supplies but this is expensive. In addition they are using the ‘Northern Distribution Network’, a variety of routes across Central Asia that originate in Europe.

According to a report by the US National Public Radio, these routes cost “two or three times as much as shipping them by sea and moving them up through Pakistan”.

And the impending elections in the US and its financial constraints may be important factors influencing its decision, especially as the planned drawdown in Afghanistan may mean an increase in the supplies leaving the country.

In this regard, the Salala incident simply provided an opportunity to the army to increase its leverage on the issue.

It now remains to be seen what the outcome is and what the army ends up with.

At a time of dwindling aid and assistance from the US, ‘Rawalpindi’ may just strike gold with the NLC and the war in Afghanistan.

 

The NLC-railways deal

•    The agreement was signed between Railways General Manager (Operations) Saeed Akhtar and NLC Director General Maj-Gen Junaid Rehmat at the finance ministry on Feb 8.

•    The NLC will finance the repair of 30 locomotives at railway workshops.

•    The repair will cost roughly Rs500 million which will be paid by the NLC initially and will be reimbursed by the railways within two years in the form of rebate to the NLC against normal freight charges

•    According to the railways GM, the repair will be completed in eight to 10 months.

•    Of the repaired locomotives, 15 will be used to carry freight booked by the NLC, while the rest will be utilised by the railways for passenger and freight train services.

•    The three-year agreement can be extended.

•    The finance ministry has also allowed the NLC to purchase coaches and locomotives from the railways and to import coaches from South Korea and the US.