Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Attack on AAJ News & Memory Loss of Pakistani Journalists.

Clarification: Let me clarify before I proceed that my criticism on Pakistani Media, Journalists, TV Channels and TV Anchors may please be taken as my opinion. I condemn Violence against anybody in strongest possible words. Differing with an opinion is one thing and supporting violence against anybody specifically the Journalists or Media is entirely different and is Totally Unacceptable. PERIOD. --- 26th June 2012 - Karachi: The terror group Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) claimed responsibility for the firing attack which left 2 people injured including a security guard in Karachi. In a sadistic statement issued over the phonecall to Aaj News, the TTP spokesperson said, “It is stated that Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan accept the attack on Media Channel Aaj TV for the firing attack”. The spokesperson for TTP further said that this was due to the reason that the Jihadi Movement event was not given full coverage and they will continue further attacks if proper coverages are not provided. The dreadful incident rattled the media industry on Monday when Aaj TV office was targeted by four armed men who opened fire and fled the crime scene. The terrible incident resulted in two employees of the office being injured. The incident marked another attack on media with several questions raised. The attacks have been condemned by the President and the Primeminister. Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf, along with his condemnation, stated that proper measure would be taken to provide protection to media personnel within the country. The PM further ordered the apprehension of the miscreants by the earliest possible time. REFERENCE: Tehrik-e-Taliban claim responsibility for attack on Aaj TV By: Bilal Khan, Uploaded: 26th June 2012  http://www.aaj.tv/2012/06/tehrik-e-taliban-claim-responsibility-for-attack-on-aaj-tv/

2008: Whole bloody West was looking for al-Qaeda commander Mustafa Abu al-Yazid and other such  absconders & Jang Group Geo Tv Reporters were interviewing him as if he was sitting in Cafe Khairabad near Jang Press, Karachi. How Ironic that Kamran Khan was not given the documents on Dr Arsalan but he ranted & he while sitting in Karachi telling tales on a subject whose even basic knowledge is lacked in every journalist what to talk of two bit Kamran Khan. Kamran Khan basically prepared case against Pakistan.

KARACHI: Senior al-Qaeda commander Mustafa Abu al-Yazid has claimed in an exclusive interview with Geo News that Pakistan has damaged the terrorist organisation more than any other country. The operational chief of al-Qaeda in Afghanistan also said that the recent attack on the Danish embassy in Islamabad was conducted by his organisation. He also claimed that al-Qaeda was growing in strength in Afghanistan and would soon occupy the entire country. He strongly debunked the view that al-Qaeda was actually protecting American interests and said it carried out the 9/11 attacks on the US and that 19 of its supporters launched the devastating attacks. He added that many of his comrades were involved in training the hijackers. These comments were made in an interview with Najeeb Ahmed that was broadcast on Monday on Geo TV's Aaj Kamran Khan Kay Saath programme. This was the first detailed interview in five years of a senior al-Qaeda leader. The 53-year-old Mustafa Abu al-Yazid is also known by the name of Sheikh Saeed. He was born on Dec 17, 1955 in Egypt. In 1981, he was incarcerated for three years in connection with the assassination of the then Egyptian president Anwar Saadat. In 1988, he became a member of al-Qaeda and went to Afghanistan. Later, in 1991, he moved to Sudan where he worked for Osama bin Laden as an accountant. By 1996 he returned to Afghanistan and taken over the responsibility of handling al-Qaeda's finances. Mustafa Abu al-Yazid had claimed his organisation's responsibility for Benazir Bhutto's assassination in Dec 2007. In his interview, Al-Yazid said the morale of fighters in Afghanistan is very high and they are putting up a tough fight against US troops. He said the resistance is gathering momentum and has become unstoppable. Listing the attacks launched by al-Qaeda, he took credit for the attacks on US embassies in Tanzania and Kenya. He said the Karzai government would meet the same fate as other 'traitors'. There is no government that supports al-Qaeda as the rulers have sold their faith and by doing so they have put themselves beyond the pale of Islam. In his view, the government that has damaged the Mujahideen the most is Pakistan's. Pervez Musharraf first inflicted suffering on the Mujahideen of the neighbouring country. He claimed that it was because of the sacrifices of the Mujahideen that Russia was unable to enter Pakistan. Musharraf's men arrested and subjected them to violence and handed them over to the Americans. What is a bigger example of collaboration with the infidels than this? This is a crime that can never be forgotten, he said. According to him, it was a matter of great honour that his supporters launched an attack on the Danish embassy in Islamabad. He congratulated his comrades for successfully executing this mission. He said they had picked a time to attack when there were no innocent Muslims in the vicinity. In any case, there was strict security around the embassy and it was not possible for ordinary Muslims to come near it. He said many eminent Islamic scholars have justified the practice of suicide bombing. The official Maulvis parrot those Fatwa that they are told to. He said the aim is to engage in direct combat but in many places it is not possible to reach the enemy. He maintained that it is not legitimate to target mosques in this way. He denied al-Qaeda's hand in the attack on Aftab Sherpao in a mosque, saying his supporters never target mosques. A statement to this effect was issued to the Pakistani press soon after the attack. He condemned violence near or inside mosques and said defending the sanctity of such places of worship is every Muslim's duty. He paid tributes to Khalid Sheikh and termed him a fearless person who the Muslim Ummah is proud of. He prayed that God's curse fall on the government that handed him over to the US. Reuters adds: The suicide bomber who carried out an attack on the Danish embassy in Islamabad last month came from Makkah, an al-Qaeda leader said in a rare interview with Geo News. It was unclear, from what Yazid said, whether the embassy bomber was a Saudi, as many non-Saudis have settled in Makkah, or whether he had been recruited while visiting the city. Yazid said the bomber had come to join a Jihad in held Kashmir or Afghanistan, but became enraged by the publication of blasphemous cartoons in Danish newspapers in 2005. REFERENCE: Al-Qaeda commander claims responsibility for 9/11 attacks Wednesday, July 23, 2008 http://www.thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintDetail.aspx?ID=16144&Cat=13&dt=7/23/2008

AAJ News 2008 : Live with Talat - Allegations on Pakistan Scrapped Part 1

2012: Saudi Arabia helped India nab 26/11 handler Abu Jundal NEW DELHI: Saudi Arabia has helped India with a major breakthrough in the probe into the 26/11 attacks by facilitating the arrest of Syed Zabiuddin Ansari alias Abu Jundal, one of the key plotters of the Mumbai raid. Jundal, who directed Ajmal Kasab and other 26/11 attackers from the Lashkar control room, was picked up by the Saudi police, who put him on a New Delhi-bound flight after alerting the authorities here about their prize catch. The Lashkar terrorist , an Indian national wanted in many terror cases who was arrested on June 21, has since made the stunning claim that LeT chief Hafiz Saeed was present in the control room when the 26/11 masterminds choreographed the Mumbai attacks. He has also said that ISI and Pakistani army officials were involved in planning 26/11 and attended the meetings. After Kasab and David Headley, the arrest of Jundal is seen as the third major success in India's effort to unravel the 26/ 11 plot. Kasab's arrest was important since his Pakistani nationality exposed Islamabad's initial stubborn denial about involvement in the strike, and put paid to the plan to pin the blame on homegrown terrorists; even Hindu radicals. REFERENCE: Saudi Arabia helped India nab 26/11 handler Abu Jundal Neeraj Chauhan, TNN | Jun 26, 2012, 01.18AM IST http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Saudi-Arabia-helped-India-nab-26/11-handler-Abu-Jundal/articleshow/14396009.cms

AAJ News 2008 : Live with Talat - Allegations on Pakistan Scrapped Part 2

Tired of waiting for the US to help stem terrorist activities emanating from the Af-Pak borders, India has now belatedly turned to the Arab world to make common cause on the threat the Al Qaeda-Taliban combine poses to the region. Really, there couldn’t have been a better place to signal this shift than Saudi Arabia. So, Manmohan Singh’s visit last week, the first by an Indian prime minister in 28 years, came none too early. Rich in oil, flush with funds, and dominating the Islamic psyche ideologically and culturally, Saudi Arabia has helped tune Pakistani politics in the past—for instance, it played a crucial role in the return of Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif from exile. If Riyadh can’t persuade Islamabad to close the terror tap, the argument goes, no one can. The requisitioning of Saudi Arabia’s help to restrain Pakistan was much celebrated and commented upon in the Indian media. But lost in the obsession with Pakistan were some other aspects of the visit. The Riyadh Declaration, signed between Manmohan and King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, demonstrated significant changes in New Delhi’s approach to Palestine, Israel and Iran, marking what some call a shift in India’s West Asia policy. And Saudi Arabia reciprocated through a telling symbolic gesture—neither Manmohan’s wife Gursharan Kaur nor other women in the Indian delegation were required to do the mandatory hijab in their public engagements. Says a senior MEA official, “The Riyadh Declaration is one of the most significant policy statements by an Indian prime minister on West Asia. For the first time, India has commented on all the major issues before the Arabs—from Palestine to Iran to Iraq to Afghanistan.”

But first, the Pakistan-Afghanistan terror aspect. Reflecting Saudi perturbation at the infiltration of Al Qaeda into neighbouring Yemen and India’s concern at the sea-borne nature of the 26/11 attack, the Riyadh Declaration condemned terrorism and affirmed that “it is global and threatens all societies and is not linked to any race, colour or belief”. No talk of root causes here, no attempt to separate terrorism threatening Saudi Arabia from that plaguing India. True, the Riyadh Declaration does not name Pakistan; a third country is rarely mentioned in such declarations. But sources say the views exchanged in backroom parleys should comfort India. For one, the Saudis said the Pashtuns, because of their numerical preponderance, have to be an integral part of the solution in Afghanistan. But this does not mean, they insisted, that the Taliban are the only representatives of Pashtuns, who anyway shouldn’t allow the militant organisation to hijack the country’s political agenda. Again, no talk here of good Taliban and bad Taliban, demonstrating the similarity in India and Saudi’s perspectives. The Riyadh Declaration also expresses support for the “efforts aimed at helping Afghanistan develop its infrastructure and achieve social and economic development”—precisely what India is attempting there, and which Pakistan steadfastly opposes. In addition, sources say, Riyadh and other capitals in the Gulf realise there’s a growing “inter-connectivity” among terrorist groups—Lashkar-e-Toiba, Taliban or Al Qaeda—a view India has been articulating for years. But there are differences over what each sees as the causes underlying the political instability in Pakistan. The Saudis, though of the view that the political class there has not pulled its weight, is glad the army hasn’t intervened overtly. India, in contrast, thinks the army still calls the shots in Pakistan. Irrespective of this difference, sources say New Delhi wants the Saudis to “use their good offices” to help the military and political establishment in Pakistan see sense in stemming terror emanating from its soil.

Through the Riyadh Declaration, Manmohan has conveyed emphatically that India’s growing relationship with Israel —a cause of much worry in the region—wouldn’t be pursued at the expense of its traditional ties with Palestine. In doing so, though, Manmohan has been critical of Israel to an extent not seen in the recent past. Also, no prime minister in the last decade has been as supportive of the Palestinian issue as Manmohan.

Not only does the Riyadh Declaration call for resumption of the Middle East peace process in accordance with the UN Security Council resolution 242 and 338 for a “two-state” solution, it also stresses upon the need to complete negotiations within a “timeframe”. In addition, it also calls for a “united and viable Palestine” and dubs the building of settlements by Israel in Palestinian territory as a “stumbling block for the peace process”. This formulation signals India accepting the Arab position—the West Bank under the Fatah and Gaza under the Hamas must not be treated separately at the time of granting sovereignty to Palestine.

No wonder the Palestinians are happy. The Palestinian ambassador in New Delhi, Adli Shaban Sadeq, told Outlook, “We appreciate it.” He says it should reverse the infiltration of the Indian political system by Israel, which has exploited the focus on global terrorism and the wounds inflicted on India itself through terror strikes. “But India’s reaffirmation on Palestine (which includes the views expressed by Manmohan during the recent visit of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to India) has surely put the issue to rest,” he says confidently.

The Riyadh Declaration also calls for making West Asia and the Gulf “free of nuclear weapons and weapons of mass destruction”. Though this could be perceived as raising serious concerns about Iran’s alleged “clandestine” nuclear weapons programme, it is also a swipe at the Israelis who have never declared their nuclear weapons. The call for a nuclear-free West Asia addresses the anxiety of the Sunni Arabs about a Shia power—and, simultaneously, expresses the region’s worry about Israel.

The Israelis, understandably, aren’t too happy, though they have refrained from making any official comments. Says an Israeli source, “From time to time Indian leaders have made such comments and we don’t see any significant shift in New Delhi’s stand on these issues. There are some changes in nuances, though.” In diplomacy, radical shifts are rare; nuances often mark the beginning of a shift. REFERENCE: DIPLOMACY: WEST ASIA Music In The Desert India warms up to the Arab world—vital in itself and in its effects PRANAY SHARMA MAR 15, 2010 http://www.outlookindia.com/article.aspx?264551

AAJ News 2008 : Live with Talat - Allegations on Pakistan Scrapped Part 3

25 December, 2008 and 2010: Saud Al-Faisal visits india to ease Indo Pak tension Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal will visit New Delhi for talks with his Indian counterpart Pranab Mukherjee on bilateral, regional and international issues, said Muhammad Barri. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is likely to visit Saudi Arabia early next year, sources in New Delhi told. Singh was set to visit Riyadh last month, but had to defer his plan due to prior commitments of King Abdullah, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques. Amid the fresh chill in the Indo-Pak ties, Saudi Arabia`s Foreign Minister Saud Al-Faisal will be in Delhi on a brief visit on Friday during which New Delhi is expected to urge the influential Arab nation to use its influence on Islamabad to end cross-border terrorism. Al-Faisal will hold detailed talks with External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee during which the Indian side is expected to share evidence about involvement of Pakistan-based elements in the November 26 Mumbai attacks. REFERENCE: Saud Al-Faisal visits india to ease Indo Pak tension 25 December, 2008 http://paktribune.com/news/Saud-Al-Faisal--visits-india-to-ease-Indo-Pak-tension-209305.html

AAJ News 2008 : Live with Talat - Allegations on Pakistan Scrapped Part 4


2010: What was the last mission of Khalid Khwaja? Hamid Mir Sunday, May 02, 2010 ISLAMABAD: The last mission of ex-ISI officer Khalid Khwaja failed but his assassination exposed many hidden secrets, including differences between the Afghan Taliban and the Pakistani Taliban, and has put a spotlight on his highly complex underworld life, as a mediator, sometimes on behalf of the Americans, a power-broker, a mover and shaker besides an ardent Islamic preacher. Squadron Leader (retd) Khalid Khwaja had been playing an active behind-the-scene role in domestic politics of Pakistan for the last 22 years. He became an important international player 11 years ago when he first tried to establish direct links between the Kashmiri militants and the Clinton Administration but failed.

He had been trying to establish direct contacts between the USA and the Taliban for the last five years. He also tried to mediate between the Pakistan Army and the Taliban many times in the last two years but all his efforts failed due to lack of trust between him and the current military leadership of Pakistan. His known contacts with some former CIA officials and an American businessman Mansoor Ijaz also created problems for him. He was intelligent enough in maintaining links with Americans and their critics like Hameed Gul at the same time but unfortunately he could not anticipate the seriousness of his adversaries, who did not miss any opportunity to strike against friends and foes alike.

He was sacked from the ISI on the direct orders of General Ziaul Haq in 1987 but he remained active with the ISI even after his sacking. He was the right hand man of former DG ISI Hameed Gul in 1988 and played a significant role in the making of the anti-PPP political alliance, the Islami Jamhoori Ittehad (IJI).

He claimed that he arranged a meeting between Osama bin Ladin and Nawaz Sharif in Saudi Arabia in 1989. He made this revelation just a few weeks before the dismissal of Nawaz Sharif government in 1999. Khalid Khwaja tried to convince Nawaz Sharif not to support Asif Zardari as president in August 2008 but the PML-N leader did not listen to him.

Khalid Khwaja was assassinated by a group of Punjabi Taliban on April 30 near Mir Ali in North Wazirastan. He was kidnapped on March 26 along with another former ISI official Col (retd) Ameer Sultan and a British born Pakistani filmmaker Asad Qureshi. An unknown group of Punjabi Taliban, with the name of Asian Tigers, alleged that Khalid Khwaja was working for the ISI and the CIA but that was not the main reason behind his killing.

A few weeks before his abduction, he met Taliban leader Waliur Rehman Mehsud in North Waziristan and handed over a list of some militants and alleged that they were working for Indian spy agencies. Within a few hours of that meeting, the vehicle of Waliur Rehman was attacked by a US drone but the Taliban commander survived. Waliur Rehman immediately informed the Punjabi Taliban to be careful about Khwaja, who then decided to trap him.

A spokesman for Punjabi Taliban hinted on Saturday that “charges against Col Imam are not strong and we may release him”. He also admitted that the Afghan Taliban were also putting pressure on the Punjabi Taliban to release the former ISI colonel.

While talking to this scribe on phone from North Waziristan, the spokesman reacted to the statement of Khalid Khwaja’s wife, who declared that her husband was a martyr because he was killed by some criminals.

The spokesman for the Punjabi Taliban said that both Mr and Mrs Khalid Khwaja played an active role in Lal Masjid tragedy in July 2007. They forced late Abdul Rashid Ghazi not to surrender but disappeared when the operation started.

Some friends of Khalid Khwaja, however, tell a different story. They say that Khwaja was arrested just a few days before the operation in Lal Masjid but they also admit that Khwaja was not supporting the surrender.

It is also learnt that Khalid Khwaja was investigated by a three-member committee of the militants for more than four weeks. Initially, Khwaja claimed that he had moved a petition in the Lahore High Court against the drone attacks along with former PML-N MNA Javed Ibrahim Paracha and he came to North Waziristan for recording the statements of drone victims to be produced in the court on April 6.

The militants confronted him as to why on the one hand he was opposing the drone attacks but on the other hand he was trying to establish contacts between the USA and the Taliban. The militants claimed that he arranged a meeting between US Under Secretary of State Karen Hughes and a religious cleric Javed Ibrahim Paracha in 2005 in Serena Hotel, Islamabad. They also produced some articles downloaded from the Internet and asked about his links with former CIA officials, James Woolsey and William Casey.

Khwaja had met these former CIA officials through an American businessman Mansoor Ijaz, who was very close to the Bill Clinton administration. Ijaz played a key role in forcing the Sudanese government to expel Osama bin Ladin from Khartoum in 1996 and helped Khwaja to establish direct links between the Taliban and the Bush administration in October 1999 when he wanted Mulla Omar to meet James Woolsey to avert an American attack on Afghanistan. Mulla Omar refused to meet the then CIA leader.

Next year, Khalid Khwaja tried to fix a meeting between American businessman Mansoor Ijaz and Kashmiri militant leader Syed Salahuddin. Khwaja contacted Salahuddin through his friends in Jamaat-e-Islami and informed him that Mansoor Ijaz wanted to deliver a letter from Bill Clinton. Syed Salahuddin came to know that Mansoor Ijaz had meetings with Indian Army officials in Srinagar in early 2000 and also with then Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf. He smelled a rat and refused to meet Mansoor Ijaz. Shortly after these attempts by Ijaz, a ceasefire was announced by a rebel Kashmiri militant commander Abdul Majid Dar in July 2000 but it failed. Majid Dar was assassinated after sometime in Kashmir.

Khalid Khwaja was arrested in 2002 after the murder of American journalist Daniel Pearl in Karachi. Khwaja had exchanged some e-mails with Pearl just a few days before his killing. Later, Marianne, the widow of Pearl, informed investigators that Pearl contacted Khwaja through Mansoor Ijaz and he only tried to help her husband in obtaining the contact numbers of some militants. Khwaja was released after a few weeks.

He surfaced again in 2005 when he gave an interview to a foreign newspaper and claimed that he was instrumental in arranging funds for a training camp established by a politician from Rawalpindi for Kashmiri militants. The same year he arranged a meeting of an MMA parliamentarian Shah Abdul Aziz, a religious leader from Kohat Javed Ibrahim Paracha and a pro-Taliban businessman Arif Qasmani with some top US officials, including Karen Hughes.

Javed Paracha confirmed that meeting to The News on Saturday and said that it was arranged by Khalid Khwaja. He said: “I was offered a huge amount of money for talking to the Taliban on behalf of the US government, but I told the Americans that first the Pakistan Army must give me a green signal and then I will proceed but Americans were acting on their own and the talks broke down.”

Javed Paracha also said that Khalid Khwaja came to his home on March 25 with Col Imam and a British journalist. Khawja wanted me to help him in his visit to North Waziristan. He said, “May be Khwaja was again trying to establish communication lines between the Americans and the Taliban but I received a clear message from Taliban that your friend is not welcome.”

Paracha claimed that he advised Khwaja not to go there. He said: “I also requested Col Imam not to take the risk. Col Imam was reluctant but Khwaja insisted and they left for Mir Ali against my advice.”

Both Javed Paracha and Khalid Khwaja had close relations with Lal Masjid clerics in 2007. Paracha met Maulana Abdul Aziz and Abdul Rashid Ghazi along with then Federal Minister Ejazul Haq and requested them to surrender. Khalid Khwaja advised Lal Masjid clerics otherwise.

Khwaja became very active in August 2008 when he contacted PML-N leaders and asked them to file a petition against the participation of Asif Ali Zardari in the presidential election. According to PML-N leader Senator Pervez Rashid, “Khalid Khwaja offered us that Nawaz Sharif should file a petition against Zardari and he will manage a Supreme Court verdict against Zardari within 24 hours but we refused to play in the hands of Khwaja.”

Khwaja had played a very active role against the government of Nawaz Sharif in 1999. He claimed in front of some JUI-F leaders that Nawaz Sharif took money from Osama bin Ladin in 1989 and promised that he would not act against Arab militants after coming into power. Those were the days when Americans were putting pressure on Nawaz Sharif to start operations against the Arabs living in Pakistan. The JUI-F and the JI started a mass campaign against Nawaz Sharif and within a few weeks his government was toppled.

This scribe tried to confirm the claim of Khalid Khwaja from Osama bin Ladin in November 2001 but he never confirmed it. Khwaja told American TV channel ABC in November 2007 that he had arranged a meeting between Nawaz Sharif and Osama bin Ladin in the Green Palace Hotel of Madina in 1989 just a few weeks before the no-confidence move against Benazir Bhutto. Osama was reported to have agreed to provide him some money.

US officials investigated this claim from many al-Qaeda operators arrested after 9/11 but only one, Ali Muhammad, told the FBI that a meeting between the representatives of Osama and Nawaz Sharif took place long ago in Saudi Arabia. He never confirmed a direct meeting between the two. Osama bin Laden never liked these claims of Khalid Khwaja who always claimed to be a friend of Osama. Khwaja had no meeting with Osama bin Laden in the last 20 years but he always claimed to be a friend of Osama.

Khwaja and Shah Abdul Aziz met Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud in early 2009. They convinced Baitullah to write a letter to General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani for a ceasefire. The Pakistan Army leadership never trusted Baitullah Mehsud and this effort failed.

Khalid Khwaja filed many petitions in superior courts in his last days. One of them was against the constitutional immunity for the president. His political role is still a mystery. His friends claim that he definitely had relations with some Americans but he was not a CIA agent.

Sources in the military establishment said that he had no mandate of the Pakistan Army for talking to the militants. Some sources said that Khalid Khwaja was used by the Pakistani establishment against Nawaz Sharif and Benazir Bhutto many times but he was not trusted in his last days.

The whole drama of his kidnapping and assassination exposed the internal differences of many Taliban groups. A powerful Taliban commander of North Waziristan, Hafiz Gul Bahadar, tried his best to rescue Khwaja but failed due to his limited influence in Mir Ali. This area is mostly populated by Dawars but these days Mir Ali is controlled by Mehsud militants who have provided sanctuaries to different groups of the Punjabi Taliban, including some Kashmiris, who have developed differences with Pakistani establishment after the ban on many outfits during the last few years. These disgruntled militants don’t listen to Hafiz Gul Bahadar and Sirajuddin Haqqani group, which is influential in the areas close to Miramshah. It is also interesting that these Punjabi Taliban have no respect for staunch US critics like General Aslam Beg and Hameed Gul just because they don’t support bomb blasts in Pakistan. REFERENCE: What was the last mission of Khalid Khwaja? Hamid Mir Sunday, May 02, 2010 http://www.thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintDetail.aspx?ID=28590&Cat=13&dt=5/2/2010

AAJ News 2008 : Live with Talat - Allegations on Pakistan Scrapped Part 5


2010: Taliban are in Punjab now — officially Umar Cheema Monday, May 17, 2010 ISLAMABAD: Though the provincial government is in a state of denial, the Punjab Police have officially admitted for the first time the movement of the Taliban, their network in district Jhang and southern Punjab and their fund-raising and recruitment drive in the province. The Jhang city police have filed an FIR, the first-ever in the Punjab, which is a severe indictment of the provincial government. The FIR No 320, registered under 11 F/7 Anti-Terrorist Act by the police itself on the basis of their human intelligence, depicts the grim realities of Talibanisation in the Punjab.

The criminal report filed against the district head of a defunct organisation, Jaish-e-Mohammad, discloses that Taliban commanders often come to the city on their way to southern Punjab as the network of Tehrik-e-Taliban is fast expanding in the region. SHO Kotwali Police Station (Jhang city) confirmed to The News the FIR, a copy of which is available with this correspondent, but was reluctant to go into the details. The DPO Jhang and the IG Punjab were not available for comments despite repeated calls and messages.

Jhang, the hotbed of sectarianism, is the hometown of the provincial police chief, Tariq Saleem Dogar. A recent World Bank report has found negligible development spending in the district, Rs 300 per person as compared to Lahore’s Rs 35,000 per person.

The Punjab government has always denied the presence of the Taliban network in the southern belt. The DG Rangers, who once dropped hint of their existence, was contradicted by provincial law minister, Rana Sanaullah, who had formed an electoral alliance with a defunct organisation in a by-election, ran campaign together with their top leader, and released the most dangerous sectarian militants as part of a deal.

The FIR and police intelligence reports indicate the Taliban are thriving in the region. The recruitment drive has also been launched recently in some religious schools. The FIR is registered against Dr. Imran, former head of Jaish-e-Mohammad in district Jhang, who has been accused of recently hosting a prominent Taliban commander carrying head money of Rs 10 million. It says Dr. Imran “runs the network of Tehreek-e-Taliban and Taliban would often come to see him on their way to other districts of South Punjab.” He has also been accused of involvement in fundraising.

The FIR is based on police intelligence that presents far more pessimistic picture than what has been reported in the FIR. The intelligence report indicates that the district head of Toba Tek Singh is a former gunman of Osama bin Laden and a driving force behind the network’s expansion in the southern belt. The Taliban commander mentioned in the FIR without name is Commander Qari Matiullah alias commander Abdul Samad, said a police officer.

According to the police intelligence, Taliban leaders frequent a number of seminaries in Jhang. An under-construction seminary in Jhang district serves as a meeting point of the Taliban leadership. Three other seminaries run by their sympathisers have launched a drive to recruit youth for training in the tribal area, says the report. Mentioning the discussion in a recent meeting held on May 1 in a seminary located in Jhang city, a police source said the religious leaders who spoke on the occasion urged the need for reviving the spirit of 1985 when a war was fought against the Afghan rulers. Jhang and other districts of central and South Punjab are now the main target of Taliban, said a police officer who cited under-development as the reason why such networks thrive. A recent World Bank report has found that the southern belt is the last priority in terms of development by the Punjab government as neither it is ready for fighting militancy nor investing in development. A Taliban sympathiser, however, claimed that Taliban are fighting against the killers of innocent people. He said innocent people were being killed in the name of war against terror. He said anyone whose mother or children were killed was bound to take up weapons. He said Taliban were not terrorists but wanted implementation of Sharia laws. REFERENCE: Taliban are in Punjab now — officially Umar Cheema Monday, May 17, 2010 http://www.thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintDetail.aspx?ID=28885&Cat=13&dt=5/17/2010

AAJ News 2008 : Live With Talat-Background of Mumbai Fraud Part 3


2009: How an ex-Army commando became a terrorist Hamid Mir Sunday, September 20, 2009 ISLAMABAD: Once he was a blue-eyed boy of President General Pervez Musharraf. He got a cash award from the president for slitting the throat of an Indian Army officer in the year 2000 but after 9/11, he became a suspected terrorist. This terrorist was Ilyas Kashmiri, reportedly killed in a US drone attack in North Waziristan last week. US officials claimed that Ilyas Kashmiri was a senior al-Qaeda commander and his death was a huge loss for the militants fighting against the foreign forces in Afghanistan. Very few people know that Ilyas Kashmiri was a former SSG commando of Pakistan Army. He was originally from Kotli area of Azad Kashmir. He was deputed by Pakistan Army to train the Afghan Mujahideen fighting against the Russian Army in mid-80s. He was an expert of mines supplied to Afghan Mujahideen by the US. He lost one eye during the Jihad against Russian invaders and later on he joined Harkat-e-Jihad-e-Islami of Maulvi Nabi Muhammadi.

Ilyas Kashmiri was based in Miramshah area of North Waziristan where he was working as an instructor at a training camp. After the withdrawal of Russian Army from Afghanistan, Ilyas Kashmiri was asked by Pakistani establishment to work with Kashmiri militants. He joined the Kashmir chapter of Harkatul Jihad-i-Islami in 1991. After a few years, he developed some differences with the head of HuJI Qari Saifullah Akhtar.

Ilyas Kashmiri created his own 313 Brigade in HuJI. He was once arrested by Indian Army from Poonch area of Indian held Kashmir along with Nasrullah Mansoor Langrial. He was imprisoned in different Indian jails for two years and finally he escaped from there after breaking the jail. His old friend Langrial is still imprisoned in India.

Ilyas Kashmiri became a legend after escaping from the Indian jail. It was 1998 when the Indian Army started incursions along the Line of Control and killed Pakistani civilians many times by crossing the border. Ilyas Kashmiri was given the task to attack the Indians from their back. He did it many times.

Indian Army killed 14 civilians on February 25, 2000 in Lonjot village of Nakial in Azad Kashmir. Indian commandos crossed the LoC, spent the whole night in a Pakistani village and left early morning. They slit the throats of three girls and took away their heads with them. They also kidnapped two local girls. The next morning, the heads of the kidnapped girls were thrown towards Pakistani soldiers by the Indian Army.

The very next day of this massacre, Ilyas Kashmiri conducted a guerilla operation against the Indian Army in Nakyal sector on the morning of February 26, 2000. He crossed the LoC with 25 fighters of the 313 Brigade. He surrounded a bunker of Indian Army and threw grenades inside. After one of his fighters Qudratullah lost his life, he was able to kidnap an injured officer of the Indian Army. That was not the end. He slit the throat of the kidnapped officer.

He came back to Pakistan with the head of the dead Indian Army officer in his bag and presented this head to top Army officials and later on to the then Army Chief General Pervez Musharraf, who gave him a cash award of rupees one lakh.

The pictures of Ilyas Kashmiri with the head of a dead Indian Army officer in his hands were published in some Pakistani newspapers and he became very important among the Kashmiri militants. Maulana Zahoor Ahmad Alvi of Jamia Muhammadia, Islamabad, issued a fatwa in support of slitting the throats of Indian Army officers. Those were the days when Corps Commander, Rawalpindi, Lt Gen Mehmood Ahmad, visited the training camp of Ilyas Kashmiri in Kotli and appreciated his frequent guerilla actions against the Indian Army.

His honeymoon with the Pakistan Army generals was over after the creation of Jaish-e-Muhammad. Gen Mehmood wanted Ilyas Kashmiri to join JeM and accept Maulana Masood Azhar as his leader but the one eyed militant refused to do so. The militants of JeM once attacked the training camp of Ilyas Kashmiri in Kotli but he survived that attack. His outfit was banned by Musharraf after 9/11. He was arrested after an attack on the life of Pervez Musharraf in December 2003. He was tortured during the interrogation.

The United Jihad Council led by Syed Salahuddin strongly protested the arrest of Ilyas Kashmiri and on the pressure of Kashmiri militants, Ilyas Kashmiri was released in February 2004. He was a shattered man after his release. He disassociated himself from the Kashmiri militants and remained silent for at least three years.

It was the Lal Masjid operation in July 2007, which totally changed Ilyas Kashmiri. He moved to North Waziristan where he spent many years as a Jihad instructor. This area was full of his friends and sympathisers. He reorganized his 313 Brigade and joined hands with the Taliban but he was never close to al-Qaeda leadership. He attracted many former Pakistan Army officers to join hands with him. The strength of 313 Brigade in North Waziristan was more than 3,000. Most of his fighters were hired from the Punjab, Sindh and Azad Kashmir.

It is alleged that he organised many terrorist attacks in different areas of Pakistan, including the assassination of Major General (retd) Faisal Alvi in Rawalpindi. Alvi was also from the SSG and he led the first-ever Army operation in North Waziristan in 2004.

Kashmiri planned attacks on Alvi on the demand of Taliban in North Waziristan. Sources close to his family have yet not confirmed his death in a US drone attack but there is no doubt that Ilyas Kashmiri was actually a creation of the Pakistani establishment like Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi of the banned LeT.

The Pakistani establishment abandoned and arrested most of these militant leaders without realising that they had followers all over Pakistan and they could create problems for Pakistan anytime. The establishment is still without any policy about all those who were once declared “freedom fighters” and were honored by the top Army officials like Pervez Musharraf. REFERENCE: How an ex-Army commando became a terrorist Hamid Mir Sunday, September 20, 2009 http://www.thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintDetail.aspx?ID=24626&Cat=13&dt=9/20/2009

AAJ News 2008 : Live With Talat-Background of Mumbai Fraud Part 4


2009: Who is Ilyas Kashmiri? Friday, October 02, 2009 Colnel (r) Imam Ex-SSG officer This is with reference to Hamid Mir's report (Sept 20) titled "How an ex-commando became a terrorist". It is total disinformation -- Ilyas Kashmiri neither had any association with the SSG nor did he serve in the army as a soldier. Being an ex-commando officer, I know that the SSG never indulges in such heinous crimes. It's a superior professional force of the army composed of responsible officers and men who carry out professional tasks. I would like to add that there is always an attempt by hostile agencies to defame the security forces of Pakistan with a malicious intent. Therefore, newspapers and columnists must refrain from falling prey to these fifth columnists. REFERENCE: Who is Ilyas Kashmiri? Friday, October 02, 2009 Colnel (r) Imam Ex-SSG officer, Rawalpindi http://www.thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintDetail.aspx?ID=201054&Cat=11&dt=10/2/2009

AAJ News 2008 : Live With Talat-Background of Mumbai Fraud Part 5


Friendly journalists: The ties between the military and the media are strong. The military often use the media to protect its hold on the giant corporate empire which it has built. In the 1980s the military did this through open censorship. Since the 1990s it has evolved subtler ways. It controls almost all access to big stories, and has therefore been able to raise a corps of "friendly" journalists who now control most key jobs in Pakistani media due to their "contacts". President Zardari's supporters suggest the media could have made up the story of the ISI cancelling its trip to the UK in order to spark an anti-Zardari campaign, which intensified as the scale of the flood damage became clear. REFERENCE: Criticism of Zardari in Pakistan hides a political game By M Ilyas Khan BBC News, Islamabad 7 August 2010 Last updated at 15:10 GMT http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-south-asia-10901583

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