Friday, 9 November 2007

More Victories in the War on Terror

60 FC men surrendered in Swat. More posts and camps were abandoned by soldiers and police, including contingents working at refugee and rehabilitation camps set up after the 2005 earthquake. This in turns caused the pull out of NGOs and Chinese engineers working on hydel projects.

It appears as if the soldiers who surrender are treated to cups of tea and receive a small cash stipend from the militants before being sent on their way home. Obviously, they have learned that this is a better incentive than beheading to get the stalwarts of the Pakistani forces to surrender. Keen on further enhancing their skills in the hospitality business, the militants took over a Hotel-Management Training Institute yesterday.

But its not all tea and biscuits under the militant regime. A punishment of 15 lashes has been introduced for anyone who misses prayer time.

In Miramshah, a pro-government tribal elder's house was blown up. Recall, these are the same tribal elders on whom the government is counting to make all these peace deals work.

The Deputy Attorney-General has resigned in protest at the government's bulldozing of the judiciary. We should salute his honesty and courage. Meanwhile the Awami National Party (ANP) has announced that it will not take part in elections under the PCO. The ANP is a left-leaning party with its support base in the NWFP and has traditionally been an ally of the PPP. Contrast the ANP's stand with that of the contemptible JUI(F) which announced it had no problem contesting elections under the PCO. The head of the ANP, Asfandyar Wali Khan is also, by the way, the only significant public figure that I know of who has condemned the suicide bombing that killed over 40 people in Afghanistan a couple of days ago, including several Members of Parliament.

Because most courts are not functioning, or only functioning in a very limited manner, the Army Act is apparently going to be amended so that military tribunals can try civilians.

The government has finally started cracking down on PPP party workers, mostly in the Punjab, with a view of strangling attendance to the rally BB is set to hold today in Rawalpindi. This contrasts with earlier instructions law-enforcement agencies had received to take a "soft" approach with PPP, JUI(F) and ANP party workers.

The owner of the 'Geo TV' network, which had become the most popular TV channels in Pakistan prior to the emergency was arrested, kidnapped and "convinced" that the network should comply with the new ordinance on the media. This following threats he had received from intelligence officials such as this one:
"Pakistan Army is the backbone of Pakistan, don't try to damage it, if u do, u and your family who have looted billions would be hunted down like rats," it read. "It will just take a few hundred people to smash ur studios, offices, vans."

No mention of the billions looted by army officials or the fact that the army, as an institution is a gigantic leech attached to the throat of the nation and has been sucking it dry while growing fat and bloated. And if I were in the army High Command, I would have the person who wrote this message shot on general principles because of his use of the letter "u".

Needless to say, the army is acting much like the Taliban which has also issued threats to the press for printing photographs in which women are visible.

Of course perhaps the biggest news in this parade of disgusting capitulation by the military government came yesterday in the news that Musharaf's newly appointed caretaker Chief Minister in NWFP announced that the government is willing to give in to the Swat militants demand to "provide relief" for the incarcerated leader of the Tehrik Nifaz Shariat-i-Muhammadi, Maulana Sufi Mohammad (also the father-in-law of militant leader Maulana Fazlulla).

To understand the enormity of this step, one needs to know a little about the TNSM. It is basically, the group that inspired the Taliban and the first militant Islamist group to start terroristic activities in Pakistan. Quoting from Hassan Abbas' book, 'Pakistan's Drift into Extremism', in 1994, "This movement spread in malakand area of NWFP of Pakistan bordering Afghanistan, with many of its members boasting about their participation in the jihad in Afghanistan. They occupied the local airport (Saidu Sharif), forced government offices to close down, and blocked traffic on all major roads in the area, demanding enforcement of the Islamic law in Malakand. The government used the Frontier Corps to arrest Sufi Mohammad and restore order, but also succumbed to the TNSM demand of introducing Islamic law in the area."

If the military, and the military government is, indeed, Pakistan's backbone, then the country is obviously a spineless creature. Its no wonder that the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan is claiming that "Talibanisation is the real agenda of this government".

Of course, as the General was good enough to remind us in his address a few days ago, one shouldn't focus solely on the bad news. The News has an article praising the courage of the seven Supreme Court Judges who stayed on at the Supreme Court even as it was being surrounded by troops, in order to pass a motion declaring the PCO illegal. It also reminds us that an independent judiciary is not in Bhutto's interest since the National Reconciliation Ordinance which dropped all the outstanding warrants and corruption cases against her has been challenged in court.

Dawn notes that for the first time in years, there is a non-partisan political movement forming on university campuses. Its particularly important that the campuses which cater to the children of the rich and powerful are politically active, because students from humbler backgrounds are much more likely to get beaten up or jailed. The Emergency Times, has become a hub about which much of these protests are organized.

Finally I leave you with this parody of a famous Pakistani nationalist song, sung at a recent protest (linked from the Emergency Times website):

No comments: