ThereAreNoSunglasses

American Resistance To Empire

Pakistan still promotes ‘good’ jihadis

[The cited report by Soros NGO International Crisis Group, like all Western critiques of Pakistan and terrorism, presents another one-sided assessment of a universal problem for the subcontinent, which pretends that only Pakistan is guilty of this behavior, blindsiding the world to US-allied sponsors of Islamist terrorism. 

Pakistan is currently naming Indian and Afghan names in its ongoing uncovering of the terror networks operating in Balochistan (SEE: Pakistan Names Afghan Generals As “Master Handlers” of NDS Agents Captured In Balochistan).  India’s RAW spy agency has also proven itself adept at “flipping” captured Pakistani terrorists, to return them to the field of battle as double-agents for India (SEE: The Indian Art of Turning Jihadis Into Anti-Jihadis and the War On Pakistan).  If it were not for organized, acceptable hypocrisy, the United States would NOT BE ABLE TO MAINTAIN its fake war of terror on Afghanistan.]

Pakistan still promotes ‘good’ jihadis: NGO

The Hindu

  • Special Correspondent
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Painting a bleak picture of the initiatives taken by the Pakistani military and civilian establishments in tackling jihadi groups, an international group has said the case of southern Punjab (which borders India) best illustrates Islamabad’s abject failure to end the distinction between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ jihadists.

State sponsorship

The International Crisis Group, an [Soros] NGO engaged in advocacy to prevent and resolve conflict, in its latest report Pakistan’s Jihadist Heartland: Southern Punjab’ was blunt in its assessment saying: “Continued state sponsorship remains a source of empowerment for groups that fall under the category of “good” jihadists, such as the Jaish, which has networks across the province.”

After the Peshawar terror attack on an Army Public School in December 2014, in which 151 school children and staffers were gunned down, a shaken military and civilian Pakistani establishment announced a 20-point National Action Plan for countering terrorism.

The plan included measures to prevent banned groups from operating and/or regrouping under new names; preventing terror funding; and dismantling terrorist communication networks among others.

Key region

Explaining the rationale for focusing on Southern Punjab to gauge the impact of the NAP, the report said the region must be central to any sustainable effort to counter jihadist violence within and beyond Pakistan’s borders, given the presence of militant groups with transnational links.

“The region hosts two of Pakistan’s most radical Deobandi groups, Jaish-e-Mohammed, held responsible by India for the January 2, 2016 attack on its Pathankot airbase; and the sectarian Laskhar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ), which was at least complicit in, if not solely responsible for, the March 27 Easter Sunday attack that killed more than 70 in Lahore,” the ICG report said.

The ICG maintained that in the southern Punjab context, the background and aftermath of the Pathankot airbase attack in India symbolise the impunity accorded to “good” jihadists. Referring to a series of initiatives by both India and Pakistan including the unscheduled visit of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Lahore in 2015, the report said derailing the nascent process was likely the motive for a major attack on the Pathankot base the very next month, attributed by India to the Jaish.

Probe flounders

The probe by Pakistan on the involvement of Jaish in the Pathankot attack has made a little headway. The ICG report notes, “Jaish’s founder, [Masood] Azhar, remains inaccessible to police investigators, reportedly held under informal “protective custody” [that] a retired counter-terrorism official described as “eyewash”. According to an official who keeps abreast of security developments, many Jaish leaders, including Azhar’s brother Rauf, who heads Jaish’s armed wing, remain in the military’s “good books.”

According to the report the group’s infrastructure in Bahawalpur is intact, including its sprawling headquarters at the Usman-o-Ali Madrasa and other mosques and madrasas across the district, many of which were seized by armed Jaish activists from organisations subscribing to the Sunni Barelvi School.

“A federal minister and member of parliament from Bahawalpur said, “the breeding grounds remain; the [sectarian] madrasas are still being financed.” According to local observers, the Jaish also continues to run a prominently-located training cell on a main Bahawalpur road toward Ahmedpur tehsil, which attracts young (often teenaged) recruits from around southern Punjab,” the ICG said.

The ICG has said that more than financial gain, groups like the LeJ, Jaish and Lashkar-e-Tayyaba/Jamaat-ud-Dawa offer a sense of power, prestige, and purpose, which especially appeals to disenfranchised youth. It said that by allowing such groups to operate and/or failing to bring them to justice, the state in effect makes them an option with high reward and little risk.

“The January 2016 Pathankot attack raised Jaish’s profile considerably in its Bahawalpur home district, as the 2008 Mumbai attacks raised LeT/JD’s. Unless the state prosecutes their leaders and dismantles their networks, it will reinforce the allure of radical Islamist organisations that appear to be above the law”, the ICG has said.

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China Stalling On 4th Line For China-Central Asia Gas Pipeline Network

Line D of the Central Asia-China Gas Pipeline Delayed

the diplomat

 

Two years ago, as Russia’s neo-imperial policies sent shudders through Central Asia, it appeared that the region may begin tacking toward China in unison. Beijing, after all, was bent less on territorial seizure in Central Asia, and more on implementing transnational infrastructure tasked with unifying divergent regional interests. The primary means of linking the region came through the China-Central Asia gas pipeline network: a series of four pipelines, traversing all five Central Asian states to provide Beijing with the volume of gas it needs.

At the time, the project seemed as close to a sure bet as you could find in the region. The U.S. New Silk Road initiative was, as ever, going nowhere, while Russia’s involvement in southern Ukraine stalled the Eurasian Economic Union’s growth prospects. China, meanwhile, enjoyed growth unabated, and needed to ensure regional connectivity if it were to access Turkmenistan’s gas. The ingredients stood at the ready. I even bought into the hype, noting in mid-2014 that the pipeline network would “force the Central Asian states to work in conjunction to a far greater extent than any other extant project.”

And the network would have, theoretically, forced a unified effort heretofore unseen in post-Soviet Central Asia. But two years on, it’s clear that the China-Central Asia gas network – alongside a startling number of international projects in the region – was heavier on optimism than many had anticipated.

While the first three lines have reached operational status, the fourth, Line D, has run into myriad issues. Earlier this year, Uzbekistan’s section of the pipeline was suspended. Now, it appears Kyrgyzstan’s section has likewise been postponed indefinitely. The suspension, according to Kyrgyz Economy Minister Arzybek Kozhoshev, arose due to ongoing discussions in Beijing. “As soon as China clarifies the cost of the project, the work will begin,” Kozhoshev told 24.kg.

Beyond the mere fact that yet another transnational infrastructure project has hit the skids, there are a few additional pieces of context worth keeping in mind. Unlike their counterparts in Tashkent, who cited “technical reasons” as the cause for postponement, Bishkek apparently felt comfortable placing the onus squarely on China. This mirrors other assessments of the Uzbek section’s postponement, which had pointed to reduced gas demand out of Beijing.

Moreover, and more disconcertingly, it was Line D – running Turkmen gas through Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Kyrgyzstan – that would have provided the final link of involvement for all five Central Asian states. Sans Line D, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan will both be on the outside looking in, forgoing both transit fees and, like the futile CASA-1000 project, the opportunity to cooperate on yet another integrational project.

Turkmenistan, likewise, is watching its opportunity to expand gas exports to China evaporate with the line’s suspension. Without Line D, Turkmenistan no longer has the opportunity to export up to 85 billion cubic meters of gas to Chinese markets. Indeed, the decreasing likelihood of the line’s completion may explain, at least in part, the recent flurry of activity out of Ashgabat regarding pipelines to both India and Azerbaijan.

To be sure, a postponement is not the same as a cancellation. But considering the precedent, and the current hydrocarbon and geopolitical realities, it may as well be. The remaining China-Central Asia pipeline network is nothing to sniff at, but, as of this week, it’s no longer the integrational catchall it once promised.

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