Showing posts from April, 2009

Muslim woman's appointment as Obama advisor

Muslim woman's appointment as Obama advisor draws cautious optimism

Dalia Mogahed, a veiled Egyptian American, will advise President Obama on prejudices and problems faced by Muslims. Many Arabs hope it's a step toward reversing stereotyping.

By Noha El-Hennawy, Los Angeles times, April 22, 2009

Reporting from Cairo — Egyptians are cautiously rejoicing over the recent appointment of a veiled Egyptian American Muslim woman as an advisor to President Obama.

Dalia Mogahed, senior analyst and executive director of the Gallup Center for Muslim Studies, was appointed this month to Obama's Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.

Arabs are closely watching for signs that the new leadership in Washington is making efforts to improve relations with Islam, which many Muslims believe were severely damaged during the eight years of the Bush administration. The selection of Mogahed is viewed by many in the Middle East as a step by Obama to move beyond the stereotypes …

Pakistan Police Needs Reform:

Pakistani Police Needs Reform
The Spectrum, April 30, 2009

Tad Trueblood has more than 20 years experience in the U.S. Air Force and the national security community. He lives in Santa Clara.

As deep thinkers and strategists, and lots of others, too, wrestle with what to do about Pakistan's slide into chaos, one potential approach being talked and written about lately is police reform. Last week, I mentioned a circuitous search that led me to a paper by Dr. Hassan Abbas on this topic. This week, let's keep exploring that trail. See info at www.thiscouldgetinter

In his recent study, "Police Reforms in Pakistan," Abbas makes the case that in any counterinsurgency fight - like the battle against Taliban, al-Qaida and other extremists in Pakistan's tribal regions - one of the keys for success is an effective and respected police force. Other researchers, and my own experience, agree with this.

For complete article, click here
To see the original report, click he…

Obama: Pakistan threat 'internal'

Obama: Pakistan threat 'internal'
Aljazeera, April 30, 2009

Barack Obama, the US president, has said Pakistan's army has begun to realise that the Taliban pose the biggest threat to the country, rather than India.

Speaking at a news conference in Washington DC on Wednesday, he said: "You're starting to see some recognition ... that the obsession with India as the mortal threat to Pakistan has been misguided.

"Their biggest threat right now comes internally ... and you're starting to see the Pakistani military take much more seriously the armed threat from militant extremists," he said.

"I am gravely concerned about the situation in Pakistan, not because I think they're immediately going to be overrun and the Taliban will take over ... [but] that the civilian government there right now is very fragile."

For complete article, click here

Also See:
Obama Says Pakistan’s Government Is ‘Very Fragile - Bloomberg
House requests constraints on Pakistan…

The Taliban Drama

Taliban deceived govt, staged withdrawal drama: ISPR
Military operation launched in Buner
* Jets, choppers bomb Taliban hideouts in Buner mountains
* Police station under siege, three FC platoons reportedly surrender
Daily Times, April 29, 2009

MINGORA/ISLAMABAD: Security forces backed by warplanes and helicopter gunships launched a new operation in Buner district near the Swat valley on Tuesday, bombing suspected Taliban hideouts in Kalil, Shera Turf, and Kandao areas.

Fighter aircraft also bombed Mushki Pur, a mountainous area of Mardan district bordering Buner.

“Today at 4pm, the Frontier Corps (FC) and military troops launched a joint operation against the militants in Buner,” Inter-Services Public Relations Director General Maj Gen Athar Abbas said at a press briefing in Islamabad. He said FC Inspector General Maj Gen Tariq Khan is commanding the operation.

Nearly 300 Taliban entered Buner from April 2 to 4 and began to terrorise the locals, in violation of the Swat deal, Gen Abbas sa…

Taliban are Enemies of Pakistan and Islam

Taliban are Enemies of Pakistan and Islam
By Salman Ahmad and Kamran Pasha
Washington Post, April 27, 2009

The Taliban hordes now sit dangerously close to Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan, and many both inside and outside the country fear that they are poised to possess the souls of a nation of 173 million. As Pakistanis living in America we stand united and join the people of Pakistan to resist the murderous Taliban and their proven malice toward Islam.
Malice toward Islam? But aren't the Taliban true Muslims who seek only to establish a pure Islamic state based on Sharia, or Islamic law? That is certainly how they present themselves. But the Taliban are no more representative of mainstream Islam than the Crusaders who ransacked Europe and the Middle East were of Christianity. Both the Taliban and their Crusading counterparts represent a political movement meant to dominate and destroy rather than strengthen faith and build human society.

Despite the distorted teaching of extremists…

Jungle Law: Dawn Editorial

Jungle Law,
Dawn Editorial, April 28, 2009

The brutal crimes committed by the Taliban constitute a warning: this is the sort of behaviour that lies at the extremist yet logical end of the jungle-law mindset taking root in the country. Increasingly, Pakistan is a place where the powerful can get away with any transgression, while the weak become exponentially vulnerable.
A case in point is last week’s incident in Muzaffargarh. A district education officer visited a government high school in connection with an inquiry against a secondary schoolteacher. The enraged teacher reportedly thrashed the DEO and then locked her up, while the assailant’s accomplices fired in the air. The police eventually arrested the DEO’s attacker but delayed registering a case against him. Reportedly, the teacher in question is close to an MPA from the PML-Q’s unification bloc. The area police told this paper that they were awaiting ‘instructions’ from the provincial assembly legislator.

Such subversion of justic…

Sufi Mohammad Missing ?

Where has Sufi Mohammad gone?
Bureau Report, Dawn, 28 Apr, 2009

PESHAWAR: The government as well as followers of Sufi Mohammad's defunct Tehrik-i-Nifaz-i-Shariat Muhammadi are looking for him for one reason: to start talks to remove the last few remaining hurdles in the enforcement of Nizam-i-Adl Regulation.
Sufi Mohammad was last seen leaving for his home in Lal Qila area from his base camp in Maidan on Saturday afternoon.

On Sunday morning, according to his spokesman Ameer Izzat, the cleric started for his base camp along with his son Ziaullah, just when the paramilitary forces moved in to attack militants’ hideout in Lal Qila.

‘The last time we had contact with Sufi Sahib was when he said he was on his way to Maidan. He said that he wanted to return home but he was not allowed to proceed by security people because of the fighting there,’ Ameer Izzat said.

‘There has been no communication since then and we don’t know where he is. Everybody is looking for him. We are looking for h…

People of Buner Responds to Talibanization

Buner jirga asks Taliban to end display of arms
Daily Times, April 27, 2009

LAHORE/MINGORA: A Buner jirga asked the Taliban on Sunday to stop displaying arms and return vehicles seized from government and NGO officials working in the area, a private TV channel reported. The channel said the jirga was attended by tribal elders and representatives of political parties and the Tehreek-e-Nifaz-e-Shariat-e-Muhammadi. Resolutions passed at the meeting demanded the immediate establishment of qazi courts in Buner and called on the Taliban to facilitate the return of peace. daily times monitor/staff report

Also See:
Buner: a hard place for the Taliban to crack - The News
Lessons of Buner - Zafar Hilaly, The News
In Pakistan, Guile Helps Taliban Gain - NYT

'Tehreek-e-Taliban Peshawar coming soon' - DT
TTP assembling Taliban in Mardan: residents - DT

Strides of civil society are non-negotiable

Strides of civil society are non-negotiable
Prof Paul Scott and Sarwar Bari
The News, April 27, 2009

The political and economic shape of Afghanistan and Pakistan is being configured right before our eyes. It is clear that a series of readjustments and course-corrections are being made, changes that may well add up to what will then form a chain of causality that will be obvious only when one looks back and connects the dots. Hindsight is always perfect. What is obvious is that the global economic crisis is forcing policymakers back to a drawing board whose formula may well be phrased in a “means and ends” matrix. All pragmatic realists should applaud this formulation. Sufficient means and clear ends should almost always result in a reasonable chance of success. This mantra of means and ends is akin to Goethe’s definition of genius, “knowing when to stop.” Yet pragmatism and realism devoid of idealism and humanitarianism are empty cylinders where national interest can be counted. The sha…

Comparing Iran with Pakistan

comment: Iran was different — Suroosh Irfani
Daily Times, April 26, 2009

For Pakistan, the lessons are clear. Rather than succumbing to the Taliban and Al Qaeda, Pakistan must develop the spiritual solidarity it lacks for standing up to the onslaught of darkness

As the Taliban extend their emirate in Pakistan’s Frontier province after taking control of Swat, there are fears that “a disaster on the scale of the Iranian revolution” could unravel Pakistan, as the web-newspaper McClatchy recently noted. Earlier, during the political crisis that forced former President General Musharraf out of office, David Ignatius warned in the Washington Post that a “revolutionary earthquake” similar to Iran’s was underway in Pakistan, “with one terrifying difference: Pakistan has nuclear weapons”.

However, the fact is that while Pakistan as we know it might cease to exist if the onslaught of the Taliban-Al Qaeda revolution is not stemmed, there are hardly any similarities between Pakistan today and the rev…

Where is the Pakistan army?

Where is the Pakistan army?
The News, April 26, 2009
Dr Farrukh Saleem

Five thousand square kilometres of Swat are now under Taliban control -- de jure. Chitral (14,850 sq km), Dir (5,280 sq km), Shangla (1,586 sq km), Hangu (1,097 sq km), Lakki Marwat (3,164 sq km), Bannu (1,227 sq km), Tank (1,679 sq km), Khyber, Kurram, Bajaur, Mohmand, Orkzai, North Waziristan and South Waziristan are all under Taliban control -- de facto. That's a total of 56,103 square kilometres of Pakistan under Taliban control -- de facto.

Six thousand square kilometres of Dera Ismail Khan are being contested. Also under 'contested control' are Karak (3,372 sq km), Kohat (2,545 sq km), Peshawar (2,257 sq km), Charsada (996 sq km) and Mardan (1,632 sq km). That's a total of 16,802 square kilometres of Pakistan under 'contested control' -- de facto. Seven thousand five hundred square kilometres of Kohistan are under 'Taliban influence'. Additionally, Mansehra (4,579 sq km), Battagra…

An awakening, but is it enough?

An awakening, but is it enough? By Cyril Almeida
Friday, 24 Apr, 2009

THANK you, Sufi Mohammad. With one speech Sufi has done more to galvanise public opinion against militancy than a hundred suicide bombings and beheadings.

Suddenly, people have woken up to the fact that the great soldier of Islam is a dangerous kook. ‘He thinks we’re what?’ ‘He wants to do what?’ Yep, he thinks the rest of us are sick and what we really need is a dose of Sufi’s medicine. Y’know, to straighten us out about our romance with infidel democracy and yearning for quaint things like basic rights, a functional economy, education, etc.

Sufi’s utopia, it turns out, is everyone else’s dystopia. The fact that people are surprised though has everything to do with the catastrophic, collective failure of our politicians and army.

How did Sufi become the state’s go-to man in Swat? Ask the politicians and they’ll tell you it’s the army’s fault. The army promised they would crush the militants but didn’t, the politicia…

Link Leads to Link, Leads to...

Link Leads to Link, Leads to...
The Spectrum, April 24, 2009

Tad Trueblood has more than 20 years experience in the U.S. Air Force and the national security community. He lives in Santa Clara.

As I scanned favorite Web sites last week, I ran across a video segment on Small Wars Journal (I've mentioned them before.) It featured a discussion with counter-insurgency expert David Kilcullen, one of the brains behind the successful "surge" strategy in Iraq. The subject was partly about Kilcullen's new book, "The Accidental Guerrilla" (I haven't read it yet, but will soon.)

During the segment, Kilcullen talks a lot about Pakistan and it's clear he's been thinking hard about it lately. This is a guy I place a lot of stock in. I've read much of his writing and actually sat across a table from him asking questions. So, when he says there's no solving Afghanistan without first making progress in Pakistan, I pay attention.

He also mentioned that one of t…

Taliban Withdraw from Buner

Picture: In Pakistan’s Buner district on Thursday, a barber looked at the “Shave is strictly forbidden” warning that the Taliban wrote on the window of his shop. The Taliban now control the region.Tariq Mahmood/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images (From NYT)

Taliban Announce Key Withdrawal
BBC, April 24, 2009
Video Link

The Taleban say they are withdrawing from a Pakistani district where their consolidation of power this week has caused deep concern in the US.

A Taleban spokesman said commander Maulana Fazlullah had issued the order for fighters to pull back from Buner, just 100km (62 miles) from Islamabad.

The US has accused officials in Pakistan of abdicating to the Taleban.

The Taleban have agreed a peace deal bringing Sharia law to some districts in return for ending their insurgency.

The peace agreement covers six districts of Malakand division, including the troubled Swat region, in North West Frontier Province (NWFP).

For complete article click here

Militants will not be allo…

Taller than His Mountains: Afzal Khan of Swat

Taller than His Mountains: Afzal Khan of Swat
By Dr. Mohammad Taqi, April 24, 2009

Fit to govern!
No, not to live. O nation miserable,
With an untitled tyrant bloody-scepter'd,
When shalt thou see thy wholesome days again,
Since that the truest issue of thy throne
By his own interdiction stands accursed …

Self-interdiction and then an abdication by the Awami National Party (ANP) in favor of its nemesis -the Taliban is obvious, but one ANP leader stands taller than the mountains of his native Swat, against the bloody scepters of the untitled Jihadist tyrants.

At the other end of my phone call today was an unmistakable deep voice, with an inimitable Pashto diction that many of us from the North West Frontier Province (NWFP) of Pakistan, would readily recognize.

Muhammad Afzal Khan of Droshkhela, Swat sounded calm, composed and firm in his resolve to deny a military or moral victory to the Taliban who have unleashed terror on our province. He expressed his resolve to remain in what he …

Taliban v. Taliban: The Road out of Kabul goes through Kashmir

Taliban v. Taliban
Graham Usher; London Review of Books, April 9, 2009

Pakistan and India have been at war since 1948. There have been occasional flare-ups, pitched battles between the two armies, but mostly the war has taken the form of a guerrilla battle between the Indian army and Pakistani surrogates in Kashmir. In 2004 the two countries began a cautious peace process, but rather than ending, the war has since migrated to Afghanistan and the Pakistani tribal areas on the Afghan border. ‘Safe havens’ for a reinvigorated Afghan Taliban and al-Qaida, the tribal areas are seen by the West as the ‘greatest threat’ to its security, as well as being the main cause of Western frustration with Pakistan. The reason is simple: the Pakistan army’s counterinsurgency strategy is not principally directed at the Taliban or even al-Qaida: the main enemy is India.

In the Bajaur tribal area, for example, the army is fighting an insurgency led by Baitullah Mehsud, the leader of one of Pakistan’s three T…

Obama’s Afghanistan-Pakistan Quandary

Obama’s Afghanistan-Pakistan Quandary – Part II
Pakistan wants US pressure on India as condition for cooperating against Al Qaeda
Haider Ali Hussein Mullick
YaleGlobal, 15 April 2009

President Obama faces two equally unpleasant alternatives if he wants to defeat Al Qaeda, according to Haider Mullick, Senior Fellow at the US Joint Special Operations University in this second part of a two part series on Obama’s Afghanistan-Pakistan Quandary. These alternatives are: help bolster Pakistan’s security interests in Afghanistan by reducing India’s role there, or be sucked deeper and deeper into Pakistan in a bid to defeat Al Qaeda. Based on extensive interviews with Pakistani civil and military officials, Mullick writes that these officials are deeply concerned by India’s massive aid presence in Afghanistan and its suspected support to Baluchi insurgents in Pakistan’s western border. Unless the US takes a stand against India’s alleged subversive role, they indicated, Pakistan’s cooperation again…

NWFP chief minister doubles police salaries - A Positive Move

NWFP chief minister doubles police salaries
Hoti says NWFP government has diverted funds from development programmes to facilitate law enforcers
Says 400 Elite Police Force personnel have started training

By Manzoor Ali Shah, DT, April 22, 2009

PESHAWAR: NWFP Chief Minister Ameer Haider Hoti announced to double the salaries of provincial police on Tuesday.

Addressing a police darbar at Malik Saad Shaheed Police Lines, he also announced to raise the compensation amount of Police Shuhada package from Rs 1 million to Rs 1.5 million. He said the NWFP was involved in an insurgency-like situation and his government had diverted development funds to meet the needs of law enforcers.

Praising the police for fighting the insurgency with courage despite shortage of resources, Hoti said steps were being taken to improve the existing infrastructure and train police personnel. “Police will be provided modern training and would be transformed into a paramilitary force,” he added. He said 5,000 new pers…

The Children of Taliban - A Moving Documentary

The Children of Taliban - A Moving Documentary by Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy
PBS, April 20, 2009
To watch documentary click here

The city of Peshawar is on high alert. The Taliban are closing in, regularly attacking police convoys, kidnapping diplomats, and shooting foreigners. The fighting across this volatile region has driven thousands of families from their homes and many have found shelter in Peshawar.

Correspondent Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy is traveling across her fractured homeland to investigate the rising popularity of a new Pakistani branch of the Taliban, now threatening the major cities, blowing up girls’ schools and declaring war on the Pakistani state.

Her journey begins at a rehabilitation center in Peshawar, where she talks with many young victims caught in the crossfire of this war.

“We saw the dead body of a policeman tied to a pole,” an articulate young girl named Qainat tells the reporter quietly. “His head had been chopped off. It was hanging between his legs. There was a no…

The Inevitability of Defeat for the Taliban in Pakistan

The Taliban will be defeated
The News, April 21, 2009
by Mosharraf Zaidi

The young lust that infuriates the fascist Flintstones of Malakand is only the beginning of the love chronicles that will extinguish the little ember that they mistake for a raging fire. The little ember they mistake for populist wildfire is disenchantment with the failing state in this country. Unfortunately for these comedic miscarriages of reality there is only one raging fire in Pakistan. It is the fire in the cities. Sure there are randomly distributed fascist mullahs in the cities too, and many of them have taken the choreography of Sufi Mohammad to heart. But if it was so easy to convert the madrasas of this country into the nodes of a bloody fascist Flintstone revolution, it would have already happened.

The real love affair that the Taliban and their ilk should be scared of is the incandescent passion with which Pakistanis, religious and irreligious, love this big, bulking behemoth of a country. March 15 may …

Taliban in Pakistani ex-resort: `Welcome, Osama!'

Taliban in Pakistani ex-resort: `Welcome, Osama!'
By KATHY GANNON – AFP, April 20, 2009

MINGORA, Pakistan (AP) — Pakistan was trying to end bloodshed when it let the idyllic Swat Valley fall under Islamic law last week. Instead, it has emboldened the Taliban and prompted an invitation — however improbable — for Osama bin Laden.

The local spokesman for the Taliban, which control the valley, told The Associated Press he'd welcome militants bent on battling U.S. troops and their Arab allies if they want to settle there.

"Osama can come here. Sure, like a brother they can stay anywhere they want," Muslim Khan said in a two-hour interview Friday, his first with a foreign journalist since Islamic law was imposed. "Yes, we will help them and protect them."

Khan spoke in halting English he learned during four years painting houses in the U.S. before returning to Swat in 2002. He averted his eyes as he spoke to a female journalist, in line with his strict understanding o…

Afghan Women March, America Turns Away

Afghan Women March, America Turns Away
By NADER NADERY and HASEEB HUMAYOON, New York Times, April 19, 2009

LAST November, extremists on motorbikes opposed to education for women sprayed acid on a group of students from the Mirwais School for Girls in Kandahar, Afghanistan. Several young women were severely burned. Yet it did not take more than a few weeks for even the most cruelly disfigured girls to return to school. Like the crowds of women in Kabul this week who protested a new law that restricts their rights, the Mirwais students demonstrate unbending courage and resolve for progress. They don’t fear much — except that the world might abandon them.

That is why President Obama’s Afghanistan-Pakistan policy speech last month and his administration’s related white paper are worrisome: both avoided any reference to democracy in Afghanistan, while pointedly pushing democratic reforms in Pakistan. The new policy represents critical shifts — such as a new emphasis on civilian work, and rec…

Defining the Punjabi Taliban Network

Defining the Punjabi Taliban Network
By Hassan Abbas, CTC Sentinnel, April 2009

On march 30, 2009, militants launched a deadly assault on a police training center outside Lahore, the capital of Pakistan’s Punjab Province. Eight police cadets were killed, and nearly 100 injured. Less than a month earlier, on March 3, gunmen in Lahore ambushed members of the visiting Sri Lankan cricket team, killing at least eight people. Punjab, the most populated of Pakistan’s provinces, has largely escaped the bloodshed plaguing the country’s troubled northwest. Yet since 2007, violence has escalated in the province. The increasingly bold terrorist attacks in Pakistan’s heartland—within Punjab Province and in the Pakistani capital of Islamabad—show that local logistical support for these attacks is attributable to what is often labeled the “Punjabi Taliban” network. The major factions of this network include operatives from Lashkar-i-Jhangvi, Sipah-i-Sahaba Pakistan and Jaysh-Muhammad — all groups that…

What Sharia Regulation in Swat Stands for?

Sharia regulation in Swat
By Tahir Wasti; Dawn, 20 April, 2009

NO one can deny the enormously serious political impact that the Sharia regulation will have. Our major political parties bury their heads in the sand when a meteorite hits our political landscape and jolts our whole constitutional infrastructure. Alongside the adverse effects it will have on the overall governance of the state, the Nizam-i-Adl regulation will have widespread legal repercussions.

A reading of the text of the Regulation 2009 indicates that members of our parliament hurriedly passed the resolution without exerting their right of reading and carefully studying several provisions of the regulation. The regulation lacks all the essential qualities of good legislation: clarity, accuracy and constitutionality. Ambiguity and vagueness ruin the very purpose of the legislation and are the two qualities that one may find floating on the surface of this law.

Had Mr M.D. Tahir been alive he certainly would have challeng…

Of judges and drones: U.S. policy alienates the Pakistani people

Of judges and drones: U.S. policy alienates the Pakistani people
By: Osama Siddique, Harvard Law Record, 4/16/09

There are many faces to Pakistan. Vibrant, joyful, intelligent, compassionate, and calm. Resonant with a lust for life; glowing with a passion for self-fulfillment common to all people; and as human in their joys and in their sorrows as any human can be. If you prick them, they bleed; if you tickle them, they laugh; and if you poison them, they die. There are millions upon millions of such faces but you never see them (though you could if you tried). You never see them because they are never shown, at least not on the bulk of the 'free' world's media, elements of which would cause Orwell to shudder. A 'free' media that at times sketches, colors, dehumanizes, objectifies, magnifies, projects, and then damns a vile 'other,' an 'imagined nation' of barbarians, with scant regard for its diversity, complexity, plurality, and above all, humanity.

Elections in India

Indian general elections 2009: Congress cashes in on ‘distorted’ facts in Advani autobiography
By Iftikhar Gilani, Daily Times, April 19, 2009

NEW DELHI: In a belated dissection of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) prime ministerial candidate Lal Krishna Advani’s autobiography ‘My Country, My Life’, published in March 2008, the Congress on Saturday sought to take political advantage during the ongoing elections, citing instance after instance of what a Congress minister called distortion of facts and history.

Union Minister and Congress spokesman Kapil Sibal pitied Advani at the AICC press briefing for “not caring to educate himself about the country’s most celebrated freedom fighters – Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev” – by claiming that they were hanged for hurling bombs inside the Delhi assembly.

“Being a swayamsevak (volunteer) of the RSS, which had no role in the Indian freedom struggle, his ignorance is quite obvious, as otherwise, he should have known that they [freedom fighters] were …

Life post-Nizam-e-Adl in Swat?

Life post-Nizam-e-Adl
The News, April 19, 2009
Dr Farrukh Saleem

Here are four of our historical, landmark, monumental mistakes. First: in 1947, we accepted that 27,220 square kilometres of FATA -- Bajaur, Khyber, Kurram, Mohamand, North Waziristan, Orakzai, South Waziristan plus FR Peshawar, FR Kohat, FR Tank, FR Bannu, FR Lakki and FR Dera Ismail Khan -- shall continue to be governed under the Frontier Crimes Regulation of 1901. Second: in 1970, Federally Administered Northern Areas (FANA), a total of 72,496 square kilometres -- that includes Skardu, Ghanche, Gilgit, Ghizer Diamer, Astore and Hunza -- was created as a separate administrative unit. Third: in 1997, Ehtesab Act was passed by the Nawaz Sharif government that gave birth to Ehtesab Courts. Fourth: in 1997, the Anti-Terrorism Act gave birth to Anti-Terrorism Courts.

For the past 62 years we have failed to integrate FATA into the rest of Pakistan. For the past 39 years we have failed to integrate FANA into the rest of Pakistan…

US to jam Taliban websites, radio links - FINALLY

US to jam Taliban websites, radio links
The News, April 19, 2009

WASHINGTON: The Obama administration is starting a broad effort in Pakistan and Afghanistan to prevent the Taliban from using radio stations and websites to intimidate civilians and plan attacks, according to senior US officials.

As part of the classified effort, American military and intelligence personnel are working to jam the unlicensed radio stations in Pakistan’s lawless regions on the Afghanistan border that Taliban fighters use to broadcast threats and decrees, according to US influential daily WSJ.

US personnel are also trying to block the Pakistani chatrooms and websites that are part of the country’s burgeoning extremist underground. The websites frequently contain videos of attacks and inflammatory religious material that attempts to justify acts of violence.

The push takes the administration deeper into “psychological operations,” which attempt to influence how people see the US, its allies and its enemies. …

The grand capitulation in Swat...and Islamabad?

Legal eye: The grand capitulation
The News, April 18, 2009
Babar Sattar

The writer is a lawyer based in Islamabad. He is a Rhodes scholar and has an LL.M from Harvard Law School

It is hard to conceive an edict more shameful and frightening than Nizam-e-Adl Regulation 2009. In reviling its detractors and labeling them conspirators, the NWFP government and the federal government are now insolently marketing this deal with the devil as a sustainable basis for peace in Swat. The underlying argument in support of this deal being propounded by its advocates is that the state of Pakistan and the provincial and federal government were at the mercy of Sufi Mohammad, Fazalullah and their fellow Swati Taliban to establish order in the area. Given that surrender before these agents of violence was the only available option to save the lives of the citizens of Swat, this vile deal was unavoidable.

If it is true that the unequivocal resolve of the heads of all state institutions and the use of all sta…

Police & Law Enforcement Reform in Pakistan

Police & Law Enforcement Reform in Pakistan: Crucial for Counterinsurgency and Counterterrorism Success
By Hassan Abbas, ISPU Report, April 16, 2009

It is a globally recognized fact that a state’s police and law enforcement agencies play a critical role as the first line of defense against the threats of terrorism and insurgencies. An informative RAND study titled How Terrorist Groups End provides evidence that effective police and intelligence work, rather than the use of military force, deliver better counterterrorism results.* Based on this conclusion, the report suggested to U.S. policymakers that they stop using the phrase "war on terrorism," because there is no battlefield solution to defeating terrorists. Another valuable study analyzing the police role in counterinsurgency campaigns in Malaya and Cyprus concluded that nearly all major twentieth-century counterinsurgency campaigns relied heavily on indigenous police as well as military forces.*

Both studies are very …