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Pakistan's Internal Security Analysis for week ending September 23

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Feb 1, 2006
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Analysis:


There is no greater strength of General Musharraf than his weakling opposition. There is no greater weakness for him than his closest allies. What an irony!



Something very dramatic is unfolding in Pakistani politics these days. Very dramatic indeed. For the first time in many months the Presidential camp is feeling that it just might ride through this storm as well. The confidence boost which the General got by bundling out the former PM Nawaz Shareef is further boosted by the fact that Supreme Court has sent mixed signals over the possibility of his re-election and opposition has once again begun to fall apart at the first hurdle. Before we analyze these developments lets us quickly review what we wrote last week.



We had written:



On one hand all options are being probed “within the constitution” but there is little hope as Supreme Court stands in the way. On the other hand, a backup solution is being kept on stand by which would be the radical option in case he is not able to seek a re-election from these assemblies either due to SC or lack of enough support. The backup option consists of few steps:



Dissolution of present assemblies.


Appointment of a caretaker government.


Imposition of an over arching limited Martial law on the pretext of poor law and order situation.


Announcement of next election dates.


Then taking his own time to create a larger political support base for the next assemblies to bring about required changes in the constitution for perhaps a Presidential form of system which would allow him more tenures as President. (The Egyptian Model)


As we write, the Supreme Court is geared up to take up the petition against the General’s two posts and his desires to stay in power in uniform. So far, Supreme Court has not taken any notice of flouting of its orders by the government and deportation of the former PM Nawaz Shareef. It seems that now the SC want to hit at the centre of gravity of Presidential powers first and then later on take up the other cases against the weakened President. But we can be sure that President Musharraf will also fight to the finish. He is no mood of going easily and would leave no stone un turned to counter the SC’s attempts to cage him. In the next few days, we shall be witnessing the unfolding of the political destiny of the General and the nation. It is not expected to be violent but still would have serious consequences on Pakistan’s future.



Now for the Supreme Court there are two options open to them and they are seriously considering taking the easier path it seems. It seems that the community of judges in the SC has seen the weakness of the opposition political parties and their inability to muster any strength against the General and the military. They have also noticed that all major political parties are exploiting the Supreme Court’s hearing of the case to cut better deals with the General. Now it seems that the SC does not want to take the entire burden in its shoulder as in the case of radical and extreme judgment against the General, the possibility of a hostile take over by the military is very real. So what could be the middle path in front of the SC which also put the responsibility on the parliament and the political parties? There is one. Let us explain.



President Musharraf has already announced the date for his re-election on October 6th. Meanwhile SC is hearing the case against his re-election and the judgment is expected this week. President Musharraf has already conceded some ground when he gave an assurance in the SC that he will take his uniform off if re-elected President from these same assemblies. (Which means that if he is not re-elected, he will not take the uniform off and impose Martial law). The message is clear from the Presidential camp and the same has been heard loud and clear by all concerned including the SC.



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Musharraf to hang up uniform…if re-elected
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By Nasir Iqbal
ISLAMABAD, Sept 18: In a significant move, President Gen Pervez Musharraf through his counsel declared before the Supreme Court on Tuesday that he would step down as army chief if he was elected president for a second term by the parliament and four provincial assemblies. The statement is the first official announcement by President Musharraf himself to quell all kinds of speculations about the timing of taking off his uniform...



Musharraf to hang up uniform…if re-elected -DAWN - Top Stories; September 19, 2007





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President’s move a veiled threat to apex court: opposition
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By Ahmed Hassan
ISLAMABAD, Sept 18: The coalition government on Tuesday claimed credit for President Pervez Musharraf’s decision to hang up his uniform after his re-election as the president, while the opposition termed the government lawyer Sharifuddin Pirzada’s statement in the Supreme Court a hidden threat to the court that Gen Musharraf might not quit the army post if he was not elected the president.



President’s move a veiled threat to apex court: opposition -DAWN - National; September 19, 2007





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Options in hand if Musharraf disqualified: Punjab CM
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By Ashraf Mumtaz
LAHORE, Sept 18: Punjab Chief Minister Pervaiz Elahi says the government has several options at its disposal in case President Pervez Musharraf is disqualified to contest for a second term. He, however, declined to disclose these ‘at this stage’ and said: “It’s not safe to do so.”



Options in hand if Musharraf disqualified: Punjab CM -DAWN - National; September 19, 2007









Sop now there are two options in front of the SC. They have to choose from the lesser of the two evils and also save their own honor and prestige which they have earned in past many months through their defiant posture against the military ruler. So what are their options? ?



Supreme Court can block the Presidential re-election and risk a Martial law.


Or



Supreme Court can deflect some of the burden towards the parliament and let the political parties and assemblies decide about lawmaking and the future of General Musharraf.


Let us explain the second point as the first is self explanatory.



What Supreme Court can do is to take the word of General Musharraf that he will take the uniform off if re-elected from these same assemblies. They then let him proceed with the elections with this condition. So after the re-election of the General, he will be bound to take his uniform off and become a civilian President. But then the Supreme Court also puts a condition that once the new assemblies come into being, President Musharraf will also have to seek a fresh vote of confidence from the new assemblies!. In this way, if the assembly re-elects him as President, the burden is off the SC but on the politicians. If the assembly does not give him vote of confidence, he ceases to remain the President. Since he will not be army chief then, there will not be any threat of a Martial law by him as well. In this case the entire burden to confront the general would not be on the judges but also it would be shared by the shrewd politicians who are being seen by the SC as cunning enough to exploit and even attack the SC when their vested interests were threatened in the past.



There are strong signs to suggest that SC is not going to fight this battle alone and would also drag the politicians into it to share its burden. This has stunned the political opposition who are in a state of disarray and confusion over these developments. Supreme Court is now taking the opportunistic politicians to task as well. Also, SC has not yet stayed the re-election proceedings of General Musharraf despite attempts by the opposition.



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Judge points out deviation by politicians: 17th Amendment
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By Nasir Iqbal
ISLAMABAD, Sept 19: The Supreme Court, hearing identical petitions against President Pervez Musharraf holding two offices, on Wednesday asked why no legislator pointed out any anomaly when the parliament was voting for the relevant amendment. “It may be a jugglery of words, but how can it be said that the President to Hold Another Office Act, 2004, is for one time when the holder is to continue as the president,” Justice Sardar Mohammad Raza Khan observed and wondered why a writ petition was needed to understand this...



Judge points out deviation by politicians: 17th Amendment -DAWN - Top Stories; September 20, 2007





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SC rejects Imran’s plea against rule change: ‘Politicians passing the buck’
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By Nasir Iqbal
ISLAMABAD, Sept 20: The Supreme Court on Thursday rejected an application of Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaaf chief Imran Khan seeking revocation of the Sept 10 amendment to the Presidential Election Rules, 1988, made by the Chief Election Commissioner. “We have declined and not allowed the CMA (civil miscellaneous application) of Imran Khan,” Justice Rana Bhagwandas announced at the conclusion of proceedings. Justice Bhagwandas is heading a nine-member Supreme Court bench hearing identical petitions challenging the president’s dual offices...



SC rejects Imran’s plea against rule change: ‘Politicians passing the buck’ -DAWN - Top Stories; September 21, 2007





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Bench without CJ disappoints Qazi
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By Our Staff Reporter
ISLAMABAD, Sept 20: Jamaat-i-Islami chief Qazi Hussain Ahmed regretted Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry’s decision to keep himself out of the bench hearing petitions challenging the president’s dual offices. He said the nation had stood behind the chief justice in the movement for judiciary’s independence but he had decided not to sit on the bench hearing the petitions. Talking to reporters Qazi Hussain said the entire nation expected the judiciary to support its stand against the dictatorship...



Bench without CJ disappoints Qazi -DAWN - National; September 21, 2007





Meanwhile the election commission continues with the proceedings as normal for the re-election of the President in uniform. There is panic in the political opposition group APDM but the problem is that even they are rocked by treason from within as JUI chief Fazal ur Rehman have almost closed a deal with the General for a lucrative post in the government for his support to General Musharraf. It was this fear of betrayal that SC has imposed caution upon itself and wants to rope in politicians as well to share the burden. APDM has announced mass resignations from assemblies but if JUI falls out, there is little the APDM can do to dent the General especially if Benazir is also in two minds about her own deal with the government.



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Countdown begins, poll on Oct 6
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By Iftikhar A. Khan
ISLAMABAD, Sept 20: The Election Commission announced on Thursday the schedule for what has been termed the country’s most controversial presidential election, despite the fact that certain key issues relating to the election are at present being adjudicated by the Supreme Court.

According to the schedule, votes will be cast on Oct 6, six days ahead of the eighth anniversary of the coup that brought Gen Musharraf into power....



Countdown begins, poll on Oct 6 -DAWN - Top Stories; September 21, 2007





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APDM hits out at poll commission: Threat of en masse resignation
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Dawn Report
ISLAMABAD, Sept 20: The All Parties Democratic Movement has described the announcement of the presidential election schedule ahead of a Supreme Court decision on petitions challenging the holding of two offices by Gen Pervez Musharraf, as a step to facilitate the president’s re-election in uniform.



APDM hits out at poll commission: Threat of en masse resignation -DAWN - Top Stories; September 21, 2007





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APDM lawmakers to resign on 29th: Decision to launch countrywide struggle
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By Ahmed Hassan
ISLAMABAD, Sept 21: Legislators of the All Parties Democratic Movement will quit national and provincial assemblies on Sept 29 as part of the alliance’s plan to foil President Gen Pervez Musharraf’s bid to get re-elected in uniform from the present assemblies. The alliance also decided at its meeting held here on Friday to launch a countrywide struggle from Sept 30...



APDM lawmakers to resign on 29th: Decision to launch countrywide struggle -DAWN - Top Stories; September 22, 2007





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Maulana Fazl ‘not on board’
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By Ashraf Mumtaz
LAHORE: Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal secretary-general Maulana Fazlur Rehman has expressed dissatisfaction over decisions taken by the All Parties Democratic Movement at its Friday meeting in Islamabad and said he will advise parties in the alliance to avoid any action that may derail the ‘democratic process’. Talking to Dawn from Makkah, he said the country was at a crossroads and one wrong step by the opposition could lead to imposition of martial law or emergency....



Maulana Fazl ‘not on board’ -DAWN - Top Stories; September 22, 2007





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PPP describes APDM decisions as premature
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By Our Political Correspondent
LAHORE, Sept 21: The Pakistan People’s Party rejected as premature the decisions taken by the All Parties Democratic Movement (APDM) on Friday and apprehended that they would backfire. PPP secretary-general Raja Pervaiz Ashraf said that his party would not take any decision in haste. “We’ll first wait for a decision on petitions being heard by the Supreme Court. Then we’ll call a meeting of the Alliance for the Restoration of Democracy and take appropriate decisions,” he said...



PPP describes APDM decisions as premature -DAWN - National; September 22, 2007



So basically, if the Supreme Court does not shoot down the Presidential elections totally within the next few days, General Musharraf is sailing towards another re-election from these same assemblies against all odds and blunders have had committed in the past few months. The SC has wavered visibly seeing the treachery and betrayal by the political opposition like JUI and PPP who are using the shoulders of the Chief Justice but not willing to share the risks. This has given tremendous boost to the government confidence that they have launched a massive crackdown on all APDM officials to prevent them from creating obstruction on the way to the Presidential elections. Also, the opposition which is panicked by the changing tone of the Supreme Court bench had decided to protest outside the court.



The tide seems to be turning for the first time in many months in favor of the General. Now the government even has the courage to taunt and challenge the opposition over their threats of resignations to prevent the Presidential elections.



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Crackdown on APDM leadership: Hashmi, Hafiz Hussain served detention orders
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By Munawer Azeem
ISLAMABAD, Sept 22: In a surprise move, the government on Saturday night launched a crackdown on the leadership of the All Parties Democratic Movement (APDM), detaining some opposition leaders in a bid to pre-empt their plan to stage a demonstration outside the Supreme Court building on Monday. Informed sources told Dawn that acting PML-N president Makhdoom Javed Hashmi, MNA Tehmina Daultana and MMA leader Hafiz Hussain Ahmed had been served detention orders at their apartments in the Parliament Lodges...



Crackdown on APDM leadership: Hashmi, Hafiz Hussain served detention orders -DAWN - Top Stories; September 23, 2007





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‘Assemblies’ terms may be extended’
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By Shamim-ur-Rehman
KARACHI, Sept 22: Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz on Saturday hinted that the government could exercise any option, including extension of the term of the present assemblies, if the opposition members resigned from the parliament. This indication came in his address at the Sindh Chief Minister’s House while he was discussing strategy for the upcoming presidential election...



‘Assemblies’ terms may be extended’ -DAWN - Top Stories; September 23, 2007



What about the Americans and the Common Wealth? Seeing the hopeless performance of the political parties, opposition and their main candidate Benazir Bhutto, it also seems that US has no further option at the stage but to support the existing President. The statements coming out from the US administration are also amusing indeed for the General and stunning for the opposition in the country. But Common wealth was more vocal but we are sure that at this stage their comments would be brushed aside by the over confident General.



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Uniform issue internal matter: White House
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By Anwar Iqbal
WASHINGTON, Sept 18: The Bush administration on Tuesday refused to take any position on whether President Pervez Musharraf should quit the military before or after his re-election, although in previous statements senior US officials repeatedly reminded the general that he had pledged to settle the uniform dispute before the elections.

“As regards to the Pakistani supreme court looking into this matter of the uniform, that is an internal Pakistani matter that we’ll let them debate,” she said...



Uniform issue internal matter: White House -DAWN - Top Stories; September 19, 2007





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Musharraf urged to separate 2 offices
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By Iftikhar A. Khan
ISLAMABAD, Sept 19: Commonwealth Secretary-General Don McKinnon urged President Gen Pervez Musharraf on Wednesday to hang up his military uniform before the end of his current presidential term.



Musharraf urged to separate 2 offices -DAWN - Top Stories; September 20, 2007





So within the next few days, SC will give its judgment. The harsh stance which the SC had taken in earlier weeks has now given way to more pragmatic and realistic approach where the political parties are also asked to share the judicial and legal burden. Though the APDMA and lawyers have promised to offer staunch resistance, there is not much they can do in the absence of unity in their ranks. Slowly, the tide seems to be turning in favor of General Musharraf unless of course the SC again has a change of heart and decides to bar the General from seeking a re-election. That is a low possibility now and if that happens, we should expect Martial law as we wrote in the beginning of this analysis. For now, let’s see what SC decides within the week.





Terrorism and Security Analysis



Pakistan is now seriously thinking of a policy re-adjustment in the tribal areas. But before that we need to refresh the background which we wrote last week.



We had written:



“It is most concerning period for national security managers. Never in the history of Pakistan have we seen that military has been made a target of such violent attacks within the country. In Pindi, the ISI bus was bombed. Last week, the Special Services Group, the elite commandoes were attacked and severe damage was caused. Fierce clashes are taking place between army and the militants in the tribal regions and almost an insurgency has been built in those regions. The militants are routinely moving out of tribal regions and targeting security installations all over the country. Also, they are moving into the settled areas like Bannu, Tank and Swat trying to impose their will through terror tactics, blasts and kidnappings. They murder, bomb and attack almost at will and are still keeping about 250 troops hostage causing a seriously embarrassing situation for the government. Nearly a hundred thousand Pakistan army’s regular troops are now deployed along Afghan border but the militancy is not coming under control, in fact spreading and causing more damage every day. The Indian and BLA assets are exploiting the confusion to wage their own wars against State and security forces. Chinese are being attacked by these foreign elements in Baluchistan and random acts of terror are being conducted with no claims of responsibly. So far, the government has no plan to handle the situation realistically and under the circumstances there is no chance that the present on-going militant campaign in the country can be brought under control with present policies, will power and political and moral authority”





So, what are the solutions? Let us attempt a simplified answer to this complicated question.



The answer to this security crisis in Pakistan lies at 3 levels. A holistic policy deployment covering all aspects of the threat and their responses is required not a piecemeal solution. The three levels are:



Afghan policy.
Tribal Policy.
Internal Security Policy.


It is due to the failure on all of the above that the government today finds itself in this mess and the country in such turmoil. Now we shall discuss the faults and deficiencies in each level of policy and hence would suggest that their correction would bring some sanity into the affairs.



What is wrong with Pakistan’s present Security policy? Almost everything.



Pakistan’s cooperation with US is not defined by any Afghan policy. In fact Pakistan does not have an Afghan policy as such.


Recently, Pakistan held a Jirga with Afghanistan and they decided to include Taliban in talks, accept them as representative people of Pashtuns which are resisting the government and also demands were made for withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan. This was positive development but Pakistan could not convert these demands into its declared foreign policy.


Pakistan continues to take sides in Afghan conflict as a result, the Pashtuns are extremely angry with Islamabad.. Pakistan must declare neutrality in Afghan affairs and should try to bring the two warring sides together not take sides along side one to kill the other. Also, Pakistan will continue its war against Al-Qaeda as they have also declared a war on Pakistan.


Pakistan could not differentiate between Taliban and Al-Qaeda / Uzbeks. Pakistan to reach out to Taliban and to try to isolate these hardcore Takfiri groups of radical terrorists from foreign lands. Still, that has not been done.


If Pakistan had reached out to Taliban and Mullah Omar and declared neutrality in Afghan affairs that would have brought tremendous pressure on local Pakistani Taliban in tribal areas to stop fighting with Pakistani forces. The moral pressure of Mullah Omar could be brought against these local tribal as well.


There are three ways to handle these local tribals who are in rebellion against the State. 1. Bring the pressure of their Afghan counter parts and Mullah Omar. 2. Bring the pressure of their own tribe. 3. Bring the military and social economic pressure on them from the side of federal government. These three pronged pressure is required to actually handle these rebellious tribes and right now only disjointed pressure is being applied without any real affect but causing more damage. The emphasis is too much on military solutions of the problem which is causing huge losses.


Also, one stick is being used against all types of militants in the tribal regions without any consideration or understanding of their religious and political ideology, their level of hostility against Pakistan, their motivation levels, their links with foreign terrorists etc.


In simple words, despite some major successes, the campaign has caused serious losses and embarrassment to the government. There is now a serious policy re-think and it is being proposed that Pakistan should withdraw troops from some of the regions to fallback, regroup and rethink the strategy to tame those hostile elements which are surely backed by foreign secret services and setting traps for the military in the rugged terrains. The following news item is only a reflection of what kind of enemy is being confronted by the Pakistan army. Those vicious foreign backed militants from local tribes and Al-Qaeda do not have any morality or ethics when fighting a war and have no scruples either.



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Mutilated bodies of 15 soldiers brought to Miramshah
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By Our Correspondent
MIRAMSHAH, Sept 18: Bodies of 15 soldiers who had gone missing during recent clashes with militants in the Shawal area of the North Waziristan Agency were brought to Miramshah on Tuesday. The bodies and two security personnel wounded in the clashes were brought from Pesh Ziarat area of Shawal in helicopters. Sources said that militants had captured these soldiers on Sunday night and killed all of them. One soldier was still missing, officials said....



Mutilated bodies of 15 soldiers brought to Miramshah -DAWN - Top Stories; September 19, 2007





Also, the local paramilitary which is drawn from these tribes see no point in fighting their own tribesmen in a war which is generally perceived within these tribes as US’s war on Muslims.

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13 paramilitary men reported missing
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Dawn Report
MIRAMSHAH/TANK, Sept 19: While a tribal jirga continued talks with militants for the release of more that 250 soldiers held hostage in the South Waziristan Agency, 13 more paramilitary soldiers were reported to be missing in North Waziristan on Tuesday night. Official sources said that six soldiers of the Shawal Rifles deserted their force and refused to take orders in the Razmak subdivision of North Waziristan on Tuesday night. The soldiers were deployed in an area adjacent to Shawal where militants killed 15 personnel on Monday…



13 paramilitary men reported missing -DAWN - Top Stories; September 20, 2007



The capture of 250 troops by the militants is the biggest embarrassment for the government and now their entire focus is on getting these men released without conceding too many concessions to the militants. The confidence level of the militants is sky high at the moment and they are demanding release of their captured would be suicide bombers, terrorists and other militants along with withdrawal of troops from the area. These are very difficult terms for the government to accept but use of force at this stage would mean certain death of 250 officers and men at the hands of these Al-Qaeda and Indian backed militants.



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Militants free 25 of over 250 security personnel
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By Our Correspondent
WANA, Sept 21: Militants freed on Friday 25 of the more than 250 security personnel they have been holding hostage for several weeks, according to government and security officials. The hostages were released as a result of intense efforts by a jirga of tribal elders and clerics who met militant commanders in Maulvi Khan Sarai. Militants had earlier released six soldiers...



Militants free 25 of over 250 security personnel -DAWN - Top Stories; September 22, 2007





The exploits by the Mehsuds in South Waziristan have given confidence to other rebel and terrorist clerics elsewhere to wage their own campaign against the security forces. Swat is another hot spot brewing for serious trouble.



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Swat cleric ‘ends’ peace deal
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By Hameedullah Khan
SWAT, Sept 21: Cleric Maulana Fazlullah, known for preaching extremist religious views, announced on Friday that he was terminating his four-month-old peace agreement with the government because of the arrest of his three colleagues and warned that his supporters would soon hit their ‘assigned’ targets. The cleric gained prominence in some circles after he started preaching his extremist views on an FM radio station from his native Imam Dehri village...



Swat cleric ‘ends’ peace deal -DAWN - Top Stories; September 22, 2007





Even a purported message from Osama Bin Laden was also aired with a direct declaration fo war against Pakistan. True or not, his loyalists or sympathizers would take it on face value. It is incredible that right now the objectives of these religious radicals, Al-Qaeda, India and Israel have become one against Pakistan and that makes these terrorist and militant groups easy pawns for foreign secret services. The authenticity of this message is very doubtful as it is monitored and released by dubious secret service groups.



We have discussed this in detail in first segment of this report. This axis makes it extremely important that Pakistan does not fall in the trap being laid for it in the tribal areas and readjust it’s Afghan, tribal and internal security policies. Re-election of President Musharraf has its own downsides in terms of security as well as all these religious radicals will go into a frenzy to eliminate him. The wild card that General Musharraf may be assassinated remains as threats to his life are increasing every day. The radical extremists have resorted to extreme violence simply because their popular appeal is reduced within the mainstream Muslims in Pakistan and that has forced them to take up arms and violence as a means to carry their mission. Even moderate religious scholars who are vocal against these terrorists are targeted as we saw in the case of Maulana Hasan Jan last week in Peshawar. Hasan Jan had a strong following all over the country and especially in the Pashtuns in NWFP and he was a strong critics of terrorist tactics being used by these militants. It is one of the reasons why we still do not find enough support base for the militants in all tribal regions and only few pockets are showing violent trends. This is the silver lining that these militants can still be isolated and eliminated but not with the presently deployed strategy.



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Bin Laden declares ‘war’ on Musharraf in new tape
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DUBAI, Sept 20: Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden called on Muslims in Pakistan to wage holy war against the government of President Pervez Musharraf in a new audio message issued on Thursday. Bin Laden declared Al Qaeda’s intention to retaliate for the blood spilled by “champions of Islam,” in the new recording produced by the terror network’s media arm As-Sahab and monitored by the US-based SITE Intelligence Group...



Bin Laden declares ‘war’ on Musharraf in new tape -DAWN - Top Stories; September 21, 2007





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Pakistan takes Osama’s threat seriously
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ISLAMABAD, Sept 21: Osama bin Laden’s call for Pakistanis to rise up against their US-allied military leader struck a chord among an angry, extremist minority but resonated little among the wider public and was dismissed by the government on Friday as “ridiculous.’’ Still, it could feed into growing debate over whether Pakistan is sacrificing its own stability by supporting Washington’s unpopular war on terror...



Pakistan takes Osama’s threat seriously -DAWN - Top Stories; September 22, 2007





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Al Qaeda losing popularity in Muslim world: US
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By Anwar Iqbal
WASHINGTON, Sept 17: Pakistan is among the Muslim countries where Al Qaeda has greatly lost its popularity — from above 75 per cent five years ago to 34 per cent now, says Karen Hughes, US Under-Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs.
In an opinion piece released on Monday, Ms Hughes says that the opinion of the Muslim world about Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden “is turning darker than bin Laden’s newly-dyed beard.”....



Al Qaeda losing popularity in Muslim world: US -DAWN - Top Stories; September 18, 2007

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