Pakistan: A Terrorist Snake Pit

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton shakes hand with Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar following their joint news conference in Islamabad.

l by Maloy Krishna Dhar

(November 21, Sri Lanka Guardian) US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had commented few weeks ago that Pakistan could not keep snakes in its backyards and not expect to be bitten. Obviously, the rhetoric was directed at jihadi tanzeems and terrorist groups created and maintained as strategic assets by Pakistan for using in Afghanistan and against India. Irony of the comment is that barring some jihadi groups the USA had collaborated with Pakistan in creating and nurturing some of the highly controversial groups like the Haqqani Network of Talibans.
Hillary did not know that in the subcontinent there are snake charmers, Bedes and Saperas who rear snakes, earn living by showing snake dances and often succumb to snake bites. Pakistan is not a western style snake charmer. Pakistan is a kind of snake lover which in Bangladesh is described Badiyas and in north India as Saperas. Pakistan Army and the ISI are expert snake-catchers and snake keepers. Only problem with them is that their snakes flourish in religious bigotry, hatred and ceaseless bloodletting and often bite back venomously paralyzing the Pakistan society and the state. The ISI is not a Been (a kind of flute) maestro who can keep his snakes charmed forever.
It is not necessary to revert to the history of fabrication of jihadists by Pakistan, USA and Saudi Arabia and their allies during the crucial turning era of swan song of the Cold War USSR and its blundering geopolitical thrust in Afghanistan. In short, Islamists from Pakistan, Egypt, Saudi and other Arab countries and few other Muslim nations were allured to join the Afghan jihad by the USA, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. The history is tortuous. In short the Islamic Unity of Afghanistan Mujahideen (Seven Party Mujahideen Alliance or Peshawar Seven) was an Afghan organization formed in May 1985 by the seven Afghan Mujahideen parties fighting against the Soviet and Democratic Republic of Afghanistan forces in the Soviet-Afghan War. The alliance sought to function as a united diplomatic front towards the world opinion, and sought representation in the United Nations and OIC.
The constituents of the alliance fell into two categories, the political Islamists: Khalis faction (Khalis), Hezb-i- Islami (Hekmatyar), Jamiat-i-Islami (Rabbani-recently killed), and Islamic Union for the Liberation of Afghanistan (Sayyaf), and the traditionalists: National Islamic Front for Afghanistan (Gailani), Afghanistan National Liberation Front (Mojaddedi), and Revolutionary Islamic Movement (Mohammadi). All of the groups were Sunni Muslims, and all were majority Pashtun except Jamiat-i-Islami, which was Tajik.
At present three major Afghan Taliban groups operate in vast areas of Afghanistan. These groups are:
The original group of Taliban formed with ISI and Pakistan Army help is headed by Mullah Mohammad Omar. Mullah Mohammad Omar is the founder and spiritual leader of the Afghan Taliban. After his defeat by U.S.-led forces in 2001, he fled to Pakistan, and most reports say he now controls the group’s shura (council) from the Pakistani city of Quetta. In a statement released in September, he said the Taliban were pursuing a nationalist agenda that would not “cause jeopardy to others.” With debate widening over how, or if, the U.S. should reconcile with the Taliban, some analysts saw it as an opening and the Taliban moving away from al Qaeda’s ideology; while others saw it as non-negotiable rhetoric from an extremist group. The Taliban was dealt a major blow in February, when Omar’s top deputy and military strategist, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, was captured in Karachi by U.S. and Pakistan intelligence. As well as running the day-to-day operations, Baradar had been a key Taliban negotiator in Saudi-brokered peace talks with the Afghan Talibans. Elimination of Osama bin Laden by the USA has also weakened the Omar group. Recent revelations indicate that the Inter Services Intelligence of Pakistan and Saudi intelligence are still supporting Omar group, with sanctuary in Pakistan, fund and weapons supplies. Pakistan treats Omar a strategic asset in Afghanistan for negotiating terms with Washington and NATO.
Omar group has strong operational bases in Pak Balochistan areas, Helmand, Kandahar and Zabul provinces. Its forces often carry out anti-US operations in Kabul and adjacent areas and generally collaborate with ISI for obstructing US/NATO supply systems to Afghanistan via Pakistan.
The other strategic asset of Pakistan is the Hezb-i-Islami group of Gulbuddin Hekmatyar. The Pashtun commander has re-emerged as a potent force in Afghanistan, with strong support in the north around his native Kunduz province, where Hezb-i-Islami has been gaining ground. Hekmatyar has been a player in Afghan politics since before the Soviet occupation in the 1980s, when he was backed by the U.S. and Pakistan. He briefly served as Afghan prime minister in the mid-1990s and was driven out by the Omar-Taliban during the fall of Kabul. After years in exile in Iran before being expelled after 9/11, he is now believed to operate his insurgency from Peshawar in Pakistan. He is in constant touch with the ISI and some US sources had also tried to influence him. The ISI uses Hekmatyar for subduing US influence in the northern areas of Afghanistan, where forces loyal to late Commander Massoud still hold forts.
Although the U.S. has kept Hekmatyar on the terrorist list, President Karzai has been talking with him about a role in Kabul, where the political party Hekmatyar founded in the 1970s holds 19 seats. Considered less ideological than the Taliban — even though his insurgents fight alongside them — analysts believe he will hold out for a dominant role in Afghanistan’s future. Hekmatyar group mainly operates in Kunduz, Baghlan, Kapisa, Laghman and Kunar region of Afghanistan. Though the US was trying to solicit support from Tajik and Uzbek authorities and the Northern Alliance of anti-Taliban groups of general Massoud, it appears that Pakistan supported Hekmatyar groups have gained ground considerably.
Hillary’s reference to backyard snakes was mainly directed at the Haqqani Network of Taliban, which operate from the shadowy areas of Afghan-Pakistan borders and is in firm control of the ISI. The history is chequered.
The Haqqani Network is an insurgent group fighting against US-led NATO forces and the government of Afghanistan. Originating from Afghanistan during the mid-1970s, it was nurtured by Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) during the 1980’s Soviet war in Afghanistan. Maulvi Jalaluddin Haqqani along with his son Sirajuddin Haqqani lead the group, which is believed to be based in the Waziristan tribal frontier of Pakistan, although it operates on both sides of the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. It is allied with the Omar-Taliban and affiliated with Osama bin Laden’s al Qaeda network.
According to US military commanders it was the most resilient enemy network and one of the biggest threats to the US-led NATO forces and the Afghan government in the current war in Afghanistan. In October 2011, U.S. Secretary Hillary Clinton explained that American officials have contacts with the group.
Maulvi Haqqani rose to prominence and was recognized as a senior military leader during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. The Haqqani family hails from southeastern Afghanistan and belongs to the Zadran Pashtun tribe. Like Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, Haqqani was more successful than other resistance leaders at forging relationships with outsiders prepared to sponsor resistance to the Soviets, including the CIA, Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), and wealthy Arab private donors from the Persian Gulf. In the late 1980s, Haqqani had the CIA’s full support. Foreign jihadists recognized the network as a distinct entity as early as 1994, but Haqqani was not affiliated with the Taliban until they captured Kabul and assumed de facto control of Afghanistan in 1996. After the Taliban came to power, Haqqani accepted a cabinet level appointment as Minister of Tribal Affairs. Following the U.S. led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 and the subsequent overthrow of the Taliban government, the Haqqanis fled to the Pakistani bordering tribal regions and regrouped to fight against coalition forces across the border. As Jalaluddin has grown older his son Sirajuddin has taken over the responsibility of military operations. Journalist Syed Saleem Shahzad, allegedly killed by the ISI, reported that President Hamid Karzai had invited the elder Haqqani to serve as Prime Minister in an attempt to bring “moderate” Taliban into the government. However, the offer was refused by Jalaluddin.
Main leaders are:
Jalaluddin Haqqani
Sirajuddin Haqqani
Badaruddin Haqqani – younger brother of Sirajuddin
Sangeen Zadran – According the US State Department, he is a senior lieutenant to Sirajuddin and the shadow governor for Paktika province in Afghanistan.
Nasiruddin Haqqani.
Abdul Aziz Abbasin – According to the U.S. Treasury, he is “a key commander in the Haqqani Network” and serves as the “Taliban shadow governor of Orgun District, Paktika Province, Afghanistan.”
Haji Mali Khan – According to NATO, he is “the senior Haqqani commander in Afghanistan” and is uncle to Sirajuddin and Badaruddin.
The US and allies are more concerned about Haqqani Network after its recent attack on US embassy in Kabul and other prominent targets. The leadership is based in Miranshah, North Waziristan in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas of Pakistan along the Afghan border. The network is active in Afghanistan’s southeastern areas of Paktia, , Paktika , Khost , Wardak , Logar , and Ghazni provinces. Haqqani is reported to run his own training camps, to recruit his own foreign fighters, and to seek out financial and logistic support on his own, from his old contacts. The New York Times reported in September 2011 that the Haqqanis have set up a mini-state in Miranshah with courts, tax offices and madrassas, and that the network runs a series of front companies selling automobiles and real estate. They also receive funds from extortion and smuggling operations throughout eastern Afghanistan. In an interview a former Haqqani commander called the extortion the most important source of funding for the Haqqanis.
Estimates of the Haqqanis’s numbers vary. A 2011 report from the Combating Terrorism Center places its strength roughly at 10,000-15,000. Throughout its history the network’s operations have been conducted by small, semi-autonomous units organized according to tribal and sub-tribal affiliations often at the direction of and with the logistical support of Haqqani commanders.
The Haqqani network pioneered the use of suicide attacks in Afghanistan and tends to use mostly foreign bombers whereas the Omar-Taliban tends to rely on locals in attacks. According to a tribal elder in Paktia Haqqani’s people ask for money from contractors working on road construction. They are asking money or goods from shopkeepers, District elders and contractors are paying money to Afghan workers, but sometimes half of the money will go to Haqqani’s people. The network, according to the National Journal, supplies much of the potassium chlorate used in bombs employed by the Taliban in Afghanistan. Also, the network’s bombs use more sophisticated remote triggering devices than the pressure-plated activators used elsewhere in Afghanistan. Modern technology of bomb manufacturing was taught by the ISI.
Anti-American groups of Gul Bahadur and Haqqani carry out their activities in Afghanistan and use North Waziristan as rear. The group’s links to Pakistan have been a sour point in Pakistan – United States relations. In September 2011 the Obama administration warned Pakistan that it must do more to cut ties with the Haqqani network and help eliminate its leaders, adding that “the United States will act unilaterally if Pakistan does not comply.” In testimony before a US Senate panel, Admiral Mike Mullen stated that the network “acts as a veritable arm of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence Agency.” Although some U.S. officials allege that the ISI supports and guides the Haqqanis, President Barack Obama declined to endorse that position.
Pakistan in return rejected the notion that it maintained ties with the Haqqani network or used it in a policy of waging a proxy war in neighboring Afghanistan. Pakistani officials deny the allegations by asserting that Pakistan had no relations with the network. In response to the allegations, Interior Minister Rehman Malik claimed that the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) had trained and produced the Haqqani network and other mujahideen during the Soviet war in Afghanistan. The Pakistani interior minister also warned that any incursion on Pakistani territory by U.S. forces would not be tolerated. A Pakistani intelligence official insisted that the American allegations are part of “pressure tactics” used by the United States as a strategy “to shift the war theatre.” An unnamed Pakistani official was reported to have said after a meeting of the nation’s top military officials that “We have already conveyed to the US that Pakistan cannot go beyond what it has already done”. However, Pakistani claims were contradicted by the network’s warnings against any U.S. military incursions into North Waziristan and by the Pakistan Army’s public acknowledgement of contacts with the Haqqanis.
Pakistani denial apart, global intelligence agencies and capital are convinced that the Haqqani Network and the Hekmatyar Taliban groups are firmly connected with the ISI and Pakistan Army.
These are not the only snakes Pakistan rear and feed in Afghanistan and Pakistan. There are more sinister strategic assets which have turned Pakistan to a virtual snake pit. The top of the most visible snake-hood is that of Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan. Pakistan is plagued by home grown Taliban groups.
Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (the TTP) is an umbrella organization of various Islamist militant groups based in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas along the Afghan border in Pakistan. Most, but not all, Pakistani Taliban groups coalesce under the TTP. In December 2007 about 13 groups united under the leadership of Baitullah Mehsud to form the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan. Among the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan’s stated objectives are resistance against the Pakistani state, enforcement of their interpretation of sharia and a plan to unite against NATO-led forces in Afghanistan.
The TTP is not directly affiliated with the original Afghan Taliban. Pakistani Taliban groups which had fought in Afghanistan later retreated to North and South Waziristan after US attacked that country. In late 2008 and early 2009 Mullah Omar asked the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan to stop attacks on Pakistani targets and instead support the war in Afghanistan. In February 2009 the three dominant Pakistani Taliban leaders agreed to put aside their differences to help counter a planned increase in American troops in Afghanistan and reaffirmed their allegiance to Mullah Omar and to Osama bin Laden. Yet, the TTP has almost exclusively targeted elements of the Pakistani state. Qari Mehsud claimed in April 2010 the TTP would make cities in the United States a “main target” in response to U.S. drone attacks on TTP leaders. The TTP claimed responsibility for the December 2009 suicide attack on CIA facilities in Camp Chapman as well as the attempted bombing in Times Square in May 2010.
TTP clashes heightened in 2002 when the Pakistani military ordered incursions into the tribal areas to originally combat Arab, Uzbek, Tajik, and Chechen etc militants fleeing from the war in Afghanistan into Pakistan. It was in July 2002 that Pakistani troops, for the first time in 55 years, entered the Tirah Valley in Khyber tribal agency. Soon they were in Shawal valley of North Waziristan, and later in South Waziristan. This was made possible after long negotiations with various tribes, who reluctantly agreed to allow the military’s presence on the assurance that it would bring in funds and development work. But once the military action started in South Waziristan a number of Waziri sub-tribes took it as an attempt to subjugate them. Attempts to persuade them into handing over the foreign militants failed, and due to apparent mishandling by the authorities, the security campaign against suspected al Qaeda militants turned into an undeclared war between the Pakistani military and the rebel tribesmen.
In December 2007 the existence of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan was officially announced under the leadership of Baitullah Mehsud. On August 25, 2008, Pakistan banned the group, froze its bank accounts and assets, and barred it from media appearances. The government also announced that bounties would be placed on prominent leaders of the TTP. In late December 2008 and early January 2009 Mullah Omar sent a delegation, led by former Guantanamo Bay detainee Mullah Abdullah Zakir, to persuade leading members of the TTP to put aside differences and aid the Afghan Taliban in combating the American presence in Afghanistan. Baitullah Mehsud, Hafiz Gul Bahadur, and Maulavi Nazir agreed in February and formed the Shura Ittehadul Mujahideen (SIM). In a written statement circulated the three affirmed that they would put aside differences to fight American-led forces and reasserted their allegiance to Mullah Omar and Osama bin Laden. However, the SIM did not last very long and collapsed shortly after its announcement.
In August 2009 a missile strike from a suspected U.S. drone killed Baitullah Mehsud. After severe power struggle Hakimullah Mehsud had been selected leader of the TTP. Faqir declared that the 42-member shura had also decided that Azam Tariq would serve as the TTP’s primary spokesperson, rather than Muslim Khan. Under the leadership of Hakimullah, the TTP intensified its suicide campaign against the Pakistani state and against civilian Shia, Ahmedi and Sufi targets.
The TTP differs in structure to the Afghan Taliban in that it lacks a central command and is a looser coalition of various militant groups, united by hostility to the central government in Islamabad. Several analysts describe the TTP’s structure as a loose network of dispersed constituent groups that vary in size and in levels of coordination. The various factions of the TTP tend to be limited to their local areas of influence and often lack the ability to expand their operations beyond that territory.
In its original form, the TTP had Baitullah Mehsud as its amir, and he was followed in the leadership hierarchy by naib amir, or deputy, Hafiz Gul Bahadur and then Faqir Mohammed. The group contained members from all of FATA’s seven tribal agencies as well as several districts of the North-West Frontier Province (NWFP), including Swat, Bannu, Tank, Lakki Marwat, Dera Ismail Khan, Kohistan, Buner, and Malakand. Some 2008 estimates placed the total number of operatives as 30–35,000, although it is difficult to judge the reliability of such estimates.
Hakimullah Mehsud commands about 7000 TTP followers. Other groups operate more or less independently. The pattern of leadership is as follows:
Hakimullah Mehsud – second amir of TTP and former commander in the Khyber, Kurram, and Orakzai agencies – South Waziristan
Omar Khalid – Mohmand Agency
Waliur Rehman Mehsud – South Waziristan
Faqir Mohammed – Bajaur
Wali Muhammad – son of Nek Muhammad appointed head of TTP in Wana.
Maulana Fazlullah, “The Radio Mullah” – Tehreek-e-Nafaz-e-Shariat
Hafiz Gul Bahadur – North Waziristan – Although originally credited as the TTP’s amir in North Waziristan, Gul Bahadur has more recently been described as “pro-Pakistan” and opposed to Hakimullah. He exclusively focuses on NATO forces in Afghanistan.
Maulavi Nazir – South Waziristan (eastern half).
The last two groups are not aligned to the main TTP formations.
Director of National Intelligence and United States Navy Admiral, Dennis C. Blair, told U.S. senators that the Pakistani state and army meanwhile draw clear distinctions among different militant groups. While there are links between the Pakistani and Afghan Taliban, they appear to be sufficiently distinct for the Pakistani military and ISI to treat them very differently. American officials said that the S Wing of the Pakistani ISI provided direct support to three major groups carrying out attacks in Afghanistan: the Afghan Taliban based in Quetta, Pakistan, commanded by Mullah Muhammad Omar; the militant network run by Gulbuddin Hekmatyar; and a different group run by the guerrilla leader Jalaluddin Haqqani, all considered a strategic asset by Pakistan in contrast to the TTP run by Hakimullah Mehsud, which has engaged the Pakistani army in combat.
Besides the main Afghan Taliban and TTP groups, Pakistan has provided strong bases for al Qaeda, despite assassination of Osama bin Laden by the USA near Abbotabad.
Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan has close ties to al Qaeda, sharing money and bomb experts and makers. John Brennan, President Obama’s chief counterterrorism adviser, said: “It’s a group that is closely allied with al-Qaeda. They train together, they plan together, and they plot together. They are almost indistinguishable.” Ambassador-at-large Daniel Benjamin stated, “The T.T.P. and Al Qaeda have a symbiotic relationship: T.T.P. draws ideological guidance from Al Qaeda, while Al Qaeda relies on the T.T.P. for safe haven in the Pashtun areas along the Afghan-Pakistani border… This mutual cooperation gives T.T.P. access to both Al Qaeda’s global terrorist network and the operational experience of its members. Given the proximity of the two groups and the nature of their relationship, T.T.P. is a force multiplier for Al Qaeda.”
Ayesha Siddiqa of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars describes the TTP as “a franchise of al Qaeda” and attributes strong ties to al-Qaeda’s acquisition of “a more local character over the years.” Since the days of the Soviet era, some al-Qaeda operatives have established themselves in Pashtun areas and enmeshed themselves in the local culture.
In 2008 Baitullah Mehsud met with Ayman al-Zawahiri in South Waziristan. Prior to this meeting the Pakistani Taliban answered to the Afghan Taliban and pro-Pakistan militant commanders. At the time Pakistani authorities believed that Mehsud was in fact an al-Qaeda operative. In February 2009 Baitullah Mehsud, Hafiz Gul Bahadur and Maulavi Nazir released a statement in which they reaffirmed their allegiance to Osama bin Laden.
It is globally recognized that the ISI had especially crafted, reared and nurtured the Lashkar-e-Taiba and Harkat-ul Jiahd Islami for fighting its proxy war against India. The details are too elaborate to accommodate in these short essay. Besides these two the Markaz-ud-Dawa of Sayeed Hafiz Ibrahim is another strategic asset of Pakistan exclusively directed against India. The Jaish-e-Mohammad terrorist outfit is another creation of the ISI. The list is excitingly and boringly long.
The Ghazi Abdul Rashid Shaheed Brigade, whose name is commonly shortened to Ghazi Brigade or Ghazi Force, emerged as a jihadi organization after the Lal Masjid massacre of 2007. In 2009 the Ghazi Brigade worked closely with the TTP during military operations in the Swat Valley, and the two groups jointly planned attacks on western targets in Islamabad.
The TTP and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) have a long history of collaboration. At one point prior to his appointment as TTP chief, Baitullah Mehsud lived with Tohir Yo’ldosh, the IMU’s former leader, who became an ideological inspiration and offered the services of his 2,500 fighters to Mehsud. In April 2009 Muslim Khan listed the IMU among the TTP’s allies in an interview with AP. The IMU posted a video online in September 2010 that featured footage of Yo’ldosh’s successor, Abu Usman Adil, meeting with Hakimullah Mehsud and Wali-ur Rahman Mehsud.
The Punjabi Taliban is allegedly a loose network of members of banned militant groups based in South Punjab, the southernmost region of Pakistan’s most populous Punjab province. Punjab being the heart of Pakistan, the ISI and Army decline any connectivity with the TTP-Punjab. Major factions of the so-called Punjabi Taliban include operatives of Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan and Jaish-e-Muhammad, who have previously been involved in the Kashmir insurgency with India. The TTP has significant recruits from Punjab based sectarian organizations also called Punjabi Taliban. The Punjabi Taliban has also developed strong connections with the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, the Afghan Taliban, Tehreek-e-Nafaz-e-Shariat-e-Mohammadi and various other groups based in the North West Frontier Province (NWFP) and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). It has increasingly provided the foot-soldiers for violent acts and has played an important role in attacking Ahmedi, Shia, Sufi and other minority civilian targets in the Punjab.
American officials admitted to The New York Times that they found it increasingly difficult to separate the operations of the various Pakistani militant groups active in the tribal areas of Pakistan. Individuals and groups that are believed to have a supportive relationship with the TTP include:
.Harkat-ul Jihad Islami (HuJI), an al-Qaeda-linked terror group
Ilyas Kashmiri
Qari Saifullah Akhtar
.Lashkar-e-Islam (based in Khyber Agency, Pakistan)
.Mangal Bagh Afridi
.Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan
.Tehreek-e-Nafaz-e-Shariat-e-Mohammadi (based in Swat, Pakistan)
Other Pakistan based jihadist, terrorist groups which operate in Pakistan and also in India are:
Lashkar-e-Omar, Tehrik-e-Jaferia Pakistan, Jamat-ul-Fuqra, Nadeem Commando Popular Front for Armed Revolution, Muslim United Army, Harkat-ul- Mujahideen-al Alami, Karkat-ul-Mujahideen, Lashkar-e-Jabbar, Muttahida Jihad Council, Al Barq, Tehriq-e-Mujahideen, Muslim Janbaz Force, Al Jihad Force, Al Umar Mujahideen, Islami Jamat-e-Taluba, Ikhwan-ul-Mujahideen, Tehrik-e Jihad-e-Islami, Al Mujahid Force, Islami Inquilabi Mahaz etc.
hese organizations are mostly Sunni, except Shia organizations like Tehrik-e-Jafria Pakistan. Most of these are aligned with Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, Jaish-e-Mohammad, Lashkar-e-Taiba, TTP and TTP Pakistan. They target government installations. foreigners and indulge in criminal activities. They are also involved in attacks against minority Hindu, Sikh and Christian groups. With a view to maintain stranglehold on the civilian society the ISI frequently use one or the other armed terrorist groups to cause depredation and spread the ambience of fear and dependence on Army as the deliverer.
Karachi has become a killing field of Pakistan. Ethnic clashes between the Urdu speaking Mohajir groups, Baloch, Pashtun, Afghan, Sindhi groups have become routine affairs. Vast areas of Karachi have been divided into ethnic pockets. The ethnic groups normally clash on issues like territorial control, Bhatta realization (protection money) from business establishments and citizenry and on religious issues as well. Normally the Shia, Ahmadia and Bahaullah etc sects are attacked with impunity.
Besides four distinct MQM armed groups other important groups which operate in Karachi are: Sunni Tehriq, Burmese bandits, Bengali slum bandits, Afghan Kuchi camps, Baloch Liberation groups, Jund Allah, Jaish-al- Qiba-al- Jihadi-al-Siri-al- Alami and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, Al Sunna etc.
Pakistan often blames India for supporting the Baloch liberation groups, supplying weapons to TTP and other FATA rebels, funding certain Karachi mafia groups and fomenting sectarian trouble by encouraging the Seraiks, Hindcos and Sindhis. These are panicky reaction of the Army establishment. Punjab, the heart of Pakistan is in convulsions. Besides the Seraiki speaking groups, other regions of Punjab have started demanding separate province status. Loss of Punjab monolith will make Pakistan weaker. Baloch independence movement, Balawari (Gilgit-Skardu) independence movement, and demand for separate Pakhtun homeland have been haunting Pakistan. Renaming of NWFP has not quenched the thirst of separate Pakhtun identity. Though Sind is the stronghold of PPP it may be recalled that the Jiye Sindh movement has resurfaced in different forms.
Pakistan had created terrorist Strategic Assets with a view to gain geopolitical stranglehold on Afghanistan and creating a strategic depth in the west of the country that would give it deeper connectivity with central Asian republics, Iran and the Arab worlds. Pakistan still endeavors to emerge as the pivotal point of the Islamic powers of the world. This vain running between dreams to dreams has made Pakistan totally depend on only a single elixir of survival-Hate India. To understand this deeper study of hate-teaching in madrasas, maqtabs is necessary. The maulvi class is used in propagating hatred against Hindus and India. Sometimes ago The Friday Times fortnightly of Pakistan had chronicled the salient features of hate Hindu-India syllabi in Pakistani text books. That itself is a vast subject of study. Indian scholars have not yet ventured into those dark areas of the Pakistani nation and society.
Besides Afghanistan ambition and longing to emerge as the deciding factor in solving the Afghan imbroglio the Strategic Assets are directed against India. Some Tanzeems are directly pitted against India and the other Tanzeems are used to spread hatred amongst the Pak masses against Hindu India.
A tottering, disintegrating Pakistan now braces assault from some of its own strategic assets, from the separatist forces and assorted terrorist groups which have converted Pakistan to a perpetually violent playground of jihad and terror. Its souring relations with the USA, on the other hand has started pushing Pakistan to the lap of China. Sooner or later Pakistan may alternate between being a client state of the USA or China.
India is faced with the paramount problem of strengthening its fences, so that, the snakes, the Strategic Assets, created and nurtured by Pakistan, do not contaminate the Muslims of India and infiltrate in India as a part Pakistan’s game plan of pushing forward the strategic depth to the east.


Author: Sri Lanka Guardian

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