Sunday, 29 September 2013

Pakistan: Ruthless Killers of Baluchistan

A total of six districts, Awaran, Kech, Gwadar, Panjgur, Chaghi and Khuzdar have been affected by the earthquake. The scale of the affected territory is daunting. The enormous destruction of the area can be gauged from the fact that death toll is inching towards 400. However, there are 337,980 people within 100km of the epicenter who could potentially be affected, according to the Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System (GDACS).  

Awaran's population is scattered over an area of more than 21,000 square kilometers. More than 60,000 people live within 50 kilometers of the epicenter, according to the UN disaster agency, mostly in easily collapsible mud homes. Workers were facing difficulties in reaching out to survivors since the communication system has been severely affected by the earthquake.

Attack on helicopter carrying Chairman, National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), 
 Major General Mohammad Saeed Aleem and Major General Samraiz Salik is not an ordinary incident.  The purpose was to disrupt relief and rescue work and create hurdles in reaching out to earthquake survivors and target security forces engaged in a massive relief and rescue operation in Awaran the worst hit area of Baluchistan.

It has been highlighted repeatedly that the rebels operating in Baluchistan are not local but militants funded by external forces. Critics go to extent of saying that these militants wear various caps, at time they are called ‘Baloch Liberation Army’ and if opportunity comes they become the custodians of rights of Sunnis. However, their sole objective remains causing dent to Pakistan by killing and sabotaging.

They just don’t want exploration and production activities to continue in the province. At times they appear to be working for annexing Baluchistan from Pakistan, as was done in Sudan and Indonesia, oil and gas rich areas were annex from these two countries. The games continued for a decade in Iraq and being played in Syria for the last two years.

One can also take cue from whatever has been happening in Northern areas of Pakistan, the fight is only to get control over reserves of precious stones and metals and oil and gas. These agents have been creating havoc only because if mining of minerals, oil and gas start in these areas all the economic woes of Pakistan will be over. The supporters of these perpetrators want to weaken Pakistan and present India as ‘Regional Super Power’.

It is not a secret that the United States is the biggest proponent and wants to create Indian hegemony in the regional. Experts say that now the United States ‘outsources’ the job. If British Prime Minister Toney Blair was used as ‘mouthpiece, for creating justification for attack on Iraq, France is playing the most active role mobilizing public opinion for attack on Syria, it may be other thing that other stakeholders of the region have been frustrating these efforts.

One of the conspiracy theories is that the five countries on the US ‘hit list’ include Syria, Iran and Pakistan. Assad’s government in Syria would have been toppled in few days had other stakeholders of the region not posed such a massive resistance. 

 If Syria is the biggest thorn in the creation of Israeli hegemony in the Middle East, getting control over sea trade passing trough Indian Ocean and creation of military camps around Iran is not possible without creation of an Independent  Baluchistan.

Friday, 27 September 2013

Pakistan: PTI or Devil’s Advocate

 Although, some of the political parties appear to be sympathizers of Taliban and its offshoot Teherik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) but of lately Pakistan Therik-e-Insaf (PTI) has emerged as the Devil’s advocate. This is not an allegation but an inference drawn from the latest statement of Imran Khan, Chairman PTI given at Peshawar while talking to media. 

As reported in media Imran Khan urged the government to declare ceasefire if it was serious about holding peace talks with militants in Pakistan. PTI chief also called on the government to allow militants to open up office in Pakistan, similar to the Afghan Taliban office in Qatar to facilitate the dialogue process.

Khan said that on one hand, there were talks of holding negotiations but on the other hand war was still ongoing. He asked how it would be possible to hold peace talks without the ceasefire. He also said that after the fourth All Parties Conference (APC), it was decided to hold peace talks; however no initiative has been taken as yet.

While talking about Peshawar church bombing which killed 81 people, Khan alleged that the tragedy had been politicized. He said 170 blasts had taken place in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in the past nine years under previous governments, but PTI had not politicized those tragedies.

To put the record straight it is necessary to bring it to the notice of PTI Chairman that during the election campaign while ANP, MQM and PPP meetings were attacked by TTP for supporting the war on terror, the banned outfit spared PML-N and PTI.

Now these two political parties are vehemently pleading negotiation with the terrorist outfits. Strangely, the government is being asked to stop operation against the perpetrators who take pride in claiming responsibility of killing of innocent people, soldiers and officers of Pakistan Army and other law enforcing agencies, sabotaging and destroying sensitive installations.

One completely fails to understand logic behind Imran’s demand of allowing the terrorists to open office in Pakistan. It seems completely insane because TTP is a banned outfit; it had killed thousands of innocent citizens, personnel of security forces and also caused enormous damage to sensitive installation, including Mehran Naval Base in Karachi, where aircrafts responsible for the surveillance of coastal line were destroyed.

The prerequisite for negotiations with any group at war with the government is that it lays down weapons and stop killing innocent people and attacking personnel of law enforcing agencies.  It seems PML-N and PTI are begging the terrorist to come to negotiation table rather than telling them categorically that ‘talks can’t be held unless these banned outfits lay down arms’. These two political parties are constantly ignoring messages coming from TTP, which claims to be at war with Pakistan Army.

Keeping in view the recent happenings in Syria one is often forced to draw the conclusion that the militants at war with Pakistan Army are being funded, supplied the most lethal weapons and also given training to use these are supported by ‘Enemies of Pakistan’. The sole purpose of these perpetrators is to weaken Pakistan economically and plunge the country into anarchy.

The perpetrators are killing people in the name of Islam but are not attacking occupying forces in Afghanistan. In fact they have become accomplice of CIA by creating a justification for prolonging stay of Nato troops in Afghanistan.

By weakening Pakistan they are also facilitating India in the creation of its hegemony in the region. The United States in the biggest proponent of granting India status of ‘Regional Super Power’. This objective can’t be achieved without causing serious dent to Pakistan.

Monday, 23 September 2013

Pakistan US relationship: Need for overcoming trust deficit

Historically diplomatic relationships between Pakistan and United States have often suffered due to changing policies of the super power, which has its own agenda to pursue. Despite fighting the US proxy war in Afghanistan for nearly four decades the US mantra ‘do more’ continues. Fighting this proxy war has the biggest fallout in the shape of growing militancy in Pakistan, influx of arms and drug and drug money. 

The situation is really odd for Pakistan as it was asked to support Taliban when USSR attacked Afghanistan in an attempt to get access to warm waters. The friends turned foe when United States attacked Afghanistan on the pretext that Taliban had provided safe haven to OBL. As the time came for withdrawing US-led Nato troops from Afghanistan United sates divided Taliban in two faction, good and bad. This put Pakistan at a very embarrassing point because Taliban decided to take revenge from Pakistan Army for supporting Nato troops. It made Pakistan jittery as bad Taliban were moved from Afghanistan to Syria to fight yet another proxy war of United States. No one really knows what will be the next US move.

As regards dealing with Taliban, particularly it offshoot TTP and its accomplice LeJ, Pakistan has no option but to weed them out as these outfits are openly challenging writ of the government. They are not only killing innocent people but martyring soldiers and sabotaging sensitive installations. On top of all they (perpetrators) very proudly claim responsibility of killing and sabotaging. Ironically, armed forces and elected civilian government don’t seem to on the same wavelength. The policy of appeasing Taliban followed by the civilian government doesn’t allow the forces to undertake ‘operation clean up’ or an open war as some critics prefer to call it.

It is also evident that United States wishes to promote India as ‘Regional Super Power’ by assigning it a role in Afghanistan and Iran, assigning responsibility for maintain security in the Indian Ocean and also to check China. All these objectives put Pakistan at a disadvantages position because of: 1) unresolved Kashmir issue, 2) Pakistan’s relationship with Iran and China and 3) Pakistan’s stake in Afghanistan. The dichotomy of US policy is evident from India getting in reward ‘nuclear technology for civilian use’ for deserting Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline project. While India has been allowed to continue its oil purchases from Iran, Pakistan is being pressurized to also quit Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project or get ready to face economic sanctions.

One can say it categorically that the US policies have always remained tilted towards India and Pakistan continues to play the role of ‘mercenaries’ in Afghanistan. Despite that Pakistan has been hosting millions of Afghan refugees for nearly four decade, some of the ‘US Touts’ are inflicting the worst damage on Pakistan, particularly in Karachi. Worst of all these elements have been trying to create a breach between the two sects, Sunnis and Shias, to plunge the country deep into anarchy. Destroying peace in Karachi is the first target to put Pakistan’s economy in complete disarray.

Added to this is the US support for ‘Garand Baluchistan’. The unrest in the province is affecting oil and gas exploration in the province. Any action against the perpetrators is projected as exploitation of Balochs and used for raising demand for an independent Baluchistan. If Pakistan asks the United States to change its policies, it must be heeded for the good of the region and not as a disagreement with the super power.

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Oil Vultures

While globally debate is going on regarding United Sates getting ready to attack Syria and the entire world is concerned about the potential fallout of this attack, oil vultures are concerned about movement of crude price, in case the US undertakes this assault.
US President Barak Obama faced stiff resistance at the G-20 summit against attacking Syria without UN Security Council endorsement that, which is confusing these vultures. They still believe that the US strike on Syria would spread unrest and further disrupt Middle East crude supplies that would lead to hike in oil prices. Though, Syria is not a major oil producer, yet any regional contagion has kept the markets on a tight leash.

Many analysts are sitting with crossed fingers and exploring what will happen if a military action against Damascus ultimately gets underway — despite the odds. Pundits seem divided; some are deeply concerned about the long term impact on oil markets and the instability that it might cause in the region. They are of the view that prices per barrel could easily go up to US$130 or even beyond. 

Others are stressing that any military action in Syria is more likely to cause prices to fall because markets have already risen in anticipation of a US intervention and there is little actual oil at risk in Syria. They believe that if Syrian civil war spread over two years hasn’t sparked an energy crisis, US intervention isn’t going to make a difference. But markets may get some jolts on the possible unwinding of the massive stimulus program by Federal Reserve. 

“The higher the run-up prior to the event (strike on Damascus), the greater the post-event decline,” underlined Morgan Stanley in a note last week. In a study of major conflicts in the Middle East since the 1973 oil crisis, Morgan Stanley found that in most Middle Eastern conflicts — including when Israel bombed an Iraqi nuclear reactor in 1981 and the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 — oil prices were lower six months after the initial surge.

Another reason some investors expect a drop in oil prices is the fact that markets tend to factor in geopolitical concerns before any event. The rise means there is potentially a greater risk of a price correction if money managers run for the exit at the same time.

This report should be an eye opener for Muslim oil producing countries that are demanding the United States to attack Syria at the earliest and are also assuring of the fullest monetary support. They have a myopic view that assault will hike oil price. They are ignoring reports emanating from Washington that Tehran has ordered militants in Iraq to attack the US Embassy and other American interests in Baghdad in the event of a military strike on Syria

The point to be kept in mind is that Israel is taking full advantage of the volatile situation. While Syria remains gripped in turmoil, Israel has given exclusive exploration rights to a 153-square mile radius in the southern part of the occupied Golan Heights to a subsidiary — of the New York-listed company Genie Energy — advised by former vice president Dick Cheney and whose shareholders include Jacob Rothschild and Rupert Murdoch.