The aftermath

It’s only common people who are affected. The high profile officials remain indifferent. When the bomb blasted, common people were injured and killed. The officials visited the site only after it was cleaned up. They made long speeches and went home. And now they must be feeling proud that they completely secured the area by declaring the entire area as a no parking zone. So no car is allowed to park anywhere near PIDC. I have never seen such stupid decision-making. The area is a major commercial zone with dozens of offices and hundreds of cars used to park in front of PIDC building and the streets and alleys around PIDC. Now they don’t allow a vehicle to stand there for even 5 minutes. And they dare to call that a security measure. Guess who gets affected by this? Common people who work in the area! They can’t even park their cars or bikes where they work. The officials are still sitting comfortably in their offices giving orders that make lives of common people so inconvenient. And what’s the use of this so-called security measure after the damage has been done? There is a police station right in front of ground zero. Still they managed to detonate a bomb there. Where were your security measures then? Now you are making the lives of people hell and think you are doing a good job. Wake up and smell the coffee.

I challenge Karachi Nazim, the Chief Minister and Governer of Sindh to try and spend a day as a common man. Only then you will understand what we go through and how we feel everyday. Only then you will truly be able to solve our problems. Otherwise bombs will keep blasting, people will keep dying, and you will never be able to gain any respect.

2 Comments so far

  1. Mohammed Yousuf (unregistered) on November 17th, 2005 @ 1:26 pm

    Hi!

    In order to appreciate the likely causes of the Car Bomb Blast in Karachi, this article may be useful.

    Regards,
    Advocate Yousuf

    Pakistan’s Foreign Policy in a Changing World – Part One

    Amicus

    Pakistan’s geopolitical and security environment is in a flux. Lately, Pakistan’s Balochistan province has assumed tremendous importance due to its potential to become an international energy corridor and transit route, and to serve as a site for military bases to monitor and, if required, intervene in the Gulf region, the Central Asia and Afghanistan. For a variety of reasons, the principal actors in this ‘great game’ are the United States, China and India. To understand the difficult choices that lie ahead for Pakistan, one should take into account the motives and moves of the principal actors in the region.

    The United States:

    Since 9/11, the United States has shown renewed interest in Pakistan that goes beyond its ‘war on terror’. Even a cursory look reveals that the United States wants Pakistan:

    1. To serve as American policeman for Central and South West Asian regions.

    2. To cooperate with the United States in the security of the sea route that passes through the Strait of Hormuz. For this purpose the coast of Balochistan offers ideal sites for military and naval facilities.

    3. To extend logistic support to American and NATO forces stationed in Afghanistan and to fully cooperate with the US Central Command in implementing American agenda for the region.

    4. To allow use of Pakistani territory against Iran if the United States and Israel opt for a military operation to destroy Iran’s nuclear installations or go for regime change.

    5. To provide all details about ‘the Khan network’ of nuclear proliferation, in particular to supply necessary information and evidence to implicate Iran for its clandestine nuclear weapons programme.

    6. To continue to cooperate in American ‘war on terror’.

    7. Not to offer China any military-naval facilities on the coast of Balochistan that would enable China to project its power in the Arabian Sea.

    8. To coordinate its policy with India in furtherance of American design to contain China.

    9. To help isolate Iran by declining to implement Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline project.

    In this regard we may refer to Section 4082 of the recently adopted 9/11 National Commission Recommendations Act (Law 2845) which is reproduced below:

    “Section 4082: United States commitment to the future of Pakistan

    (a) Sense of Congress: It is the sense of Congress that the United States should, over a long-term period, help to ensure a promising, stable, and secure future for Pakistan, should in particular provide assistance to encourage and enable Pakistan: (1) To continue and improve upon its commitment to combating extremism.

    (2) To seek to resolve any outstanding difficulties with its neighbors and other countries in its region.

    (3) To continue to make efforts to fully control its territory and borders.

    (4) To progress towards becoming a more effective and participatory democracy.

    (5) To participate more vigorously in the global marketplace and to continue to modernize its economy.

    (6) To take all necessary steps to halt the spread of weapons of mass destruction.

    (7) To continue to reform its education system; and

    (8) To, in other ways, implement a general strategy of moderation.”

    The same Act also calls upon the US President to “transmit to Congress a detailed proposed strategy for the future, long-term, engagement of the United States with Pakistan.”

    In line with the policy adopted after 9/11 the United States has declared Pakistan a non-NATO ally and announced $ 3 billion package over a five-year period, half of which is for defense purposes. The United States has agreed to sell Pakistan arms and weapon-systems including P-3C Orion planes, F-22 P frigates and F-16 fighter aircrafts. Since Pakistan is required to concentrate on the Gulf region, South West Asia and Central Asia, the United States has simultaneously offered anti-ballistic missile systems (Patriots) and F-18 to India with the declared intention that it would like India to emerge as ‘world power’.

    China:

    Militarily China is far behind the United States but in recent years its economic performance has been miraculous. In order to sustain its high growth rate, China is in search of secure and viable energy resources, and a transit trade route to the Arabian Sea that may be cost effective. Although work on Kazakhstan-China pipeline has begun, presently China’s 60% energy supplies come from the Middle East. Nearly 80% of China’s oil imports pass through the Strait of Malacca.

    China, therefore, would like Pakistan:

    1. To provide transit facilities for its imports and exports through Pakistani territory via the ports of Gwadar and Karachi.

    2. To offer naval facilities on the coast of Balochistan so that it can project power in the Arabian Sea in the vicinity of the Strait of Hormuz.

    3. To reject any role in the United States policy directed at the containment of China.

    4. To curb the jihad culture in particular in Kashmir so that its spill-over effect is not felt in Xingiang.

    5. To normalize its relations with India so that the two countries have to rely less on the United States.

    India:

    India has long cherished the idea of dominating the Indian Ocean region. Since the Sino-Indian war of 1962, the United States has always viewed India as counter-poise to China in the region and has recently announced that it would like India to emerge as a ‘world power’. India would prefer to avoid confrontation with China provided China acknowledges Indian interests in the Indian Ocean region. With an economy that is growing at a rapid pace, India is also in search of energy resources and at some stage this may cause friction between India and China. Indian interests would be best served if Pakistan agrees:

    1. To settle the Kashmir dispute by accepting the Line of Control as permanent international border between the two countries.

    2. To concede the dominant status of India in the region, give-up arms race and not to create any hurdles in Indian designs for permanent memberships of the UN Security Council and to otherwise coordinate its policy with that of India.

    3. To prevent China from projecting its power in the Arabian Sea through the coast of Balochistan.

    4. To facilitate construction of and to ensure security of the proposed gas pipeline from Iran to India or Turkmenistan to India.

    5. To promote confidence-building measures and people-to-people contacts and to normalize relations in all respects.

    6. To grant most-favored nation (MFN) status to India.

    Let us now examine what developments have taken place on different important issues:

    Mega Projects in Balochistan:

    Comprising 43% of Pakistan’s territory and about 5% of Pakistan’s population, Balochistan is rich in natural resources. Since the time of the British Raj more than 90% of Balochistan territory is controlled and governed indirectly through tribal chiefs or Sardars who receive monetary and other benefits by way of royalty or on other pretexts. This arrangement was looked upon as convenient both by the Pakistan government and most of the tribal chiefs although at times military action was taken against Baloch nationalists and recalcitrant tribal chiefs. During early 1980s, the former Soviet Union did try to foment trouble in Balochistan by forming Balochistan Liberation Army to punish Pakistan for its role as frontline state and organizer of jihad against the Soviet military occupation of Afghanistan.

    Balochistan might have remained a neglected province of Pakistan had the following developments not served as catalyst:

    1. The collapse of the Soviet Union and emergence of the landlocked Central Asian Republics that need transit routes for trade and corridor for export of energy resources.

    2. The economic miracle of China and its requirement for transit route for its western region and, therefore, a suitable port. Simultaneously China’s desire to have a foothold on the Arabian Sea to augment security of its, Life Line- oil supply from the Middle East.

    3. The growing energy need of India which may be met by construction of gas pipeline from Iran and/or Turkmenistan via Balochistan.

    4. The United States’ newly acquired status as the only Super Power and its policy to command the sources of energy in the Middle East and Central Asia, to protect corporate oil interests and to hamper China’s growing stature as a world power and economic giant

    5. The realization on the part of Pakistan government that in case of any military conflict with India Pakistan would need a more secure alternate port if, as happened in the past, India is able to blockade Karachi.

    Thus Balochistan has come into international limelight with a couple of mega projects that have potentials to drastically change the geopolitical and strategic scenario in the region.

    In 2001, Pakistan and China agreed to develop a deep-sea port at the fishing village of Gwadar on the Arabian Sea coast of Balochistan. Situated at a distance of 72 km from the border of Iran and a little over 400 km from the Strait of Hormuz, Gwadar is most likely to attract transit traffic at the expense of ports Abbas and Chabahar of Iran, particularly at a time when Iran itself is in trouble. It may be noted that India has stakes in the Iranian port of Chabahar and has committed $ 84 million on improvement of 213 km long Zaranj-Delaram road with a view to facilitate trade links with Central Asia via Iran and Afghanistan. The development of Gwadar would also make some dent on the economies of United Arab Emirates and Oman.

    In March 2002, work began on the Gwadar port with an estimated total cost of US $ 1.16 billion and its first phase was completed in January 2005. China is said to have contributed $ 198 million in the construction of the first phase of the port and $ 200 million in the building of a highway joining Gwadar to Karachi. Nearly 450 Chinese engineers are working on the project. Apart from transit trade, the Gwadar port is very important for China in ensuring energy security. After it is fully developed, China would be able to use it as transit terminal for crude-oil imports from the Middle East and Iran to Xingiang. At present China feels insecure because 80% of its oil imports pass through the Strait of Malacca which is, like the Strait of Hormuz, under American presence.

    Another mega project in the offing is the gas pipeline from Turkmenistan via Afghanistan to the port of Gwadar. On completion this project could serve as the shortest route for supply of hydro-carbon resources from Central Asia to South East Asia, including Japan, and some countries of Europe. Alternatively, the same pipeline may go to India.

    There is also a proposal for US $ 4 billion Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline that is opposed by the United States. In January 2005, India and Iran concluded a multi-billion dollars deal under which Iran undertook to supply 7.5 million tons of liquefied natural gas annually from 2009 for next 25 years. On its part, India is prepared to contribute in the development of oilfields at Yadavaran and Jufeyar in Iran. Interestingly, there is also a move that this pipeline may be shared by China.

    The United States is in favor of Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan pipeline or Qatar-Pakistan pipeline via Indian Ocean that may extend to India. Since Turkmenistan has commitment to supply gas to Ukraine also, India has doubts if it would be able to fulfill Indian demand on a long-term basis.

    The prospects for the development of Balochistan are very bright. Pakistan government intends to expand its direct control over Balochistan territory and also to build more cantonments. Some analysts believe that the establishment of cantonments is linked to military preparedness against Iran at the behest of the United States. The tribal chiefs consider it as interference in their domain. The Baloch nationalists have dreams of an independent Balochistan to reap the harvest of economic bonanza. There are genuine grievances against the federal government also which relate to exploitation of natural resources, in particular Sui gas, without adequate compensation, and unfairly low share in the award of National Finance Commission. The Baloch people also fear that the mega projects, in particular the Gwadar port city, would invite an influx of population from other provinces reducing the ethnic Baloch to a minority at some stage, and show serious concern about interference in their cultural values. They also complain about injustice in grant of employment and apprehend that the benefits of the mega projects would go to outsiders.

    Since last several months a sort of an insurgency is going on in Balochistan. Hundreds of rockets have been fired on military installations and government offices and a number of times supply of gas has been disrupted to different parts of Punjab and Sindh. Pakistan armed forces have also shown their muscles by using mortars against the insurgents leading to civilian casualties. Although Pakistan government blames the trio of Marri, Bugti and Mengal Sardars, the fact is that a sizable number of young Baloch have lost trust in the government and faith in Pakistan. The Balochistan Liberation Army is reportedly receiving arms and ammunition from India and that too surprisingly via Sindh also. The BLA reportedly has training camps in Kohlu. The Marri, Bugti and Mengal Sardars have their private armies. The RAW is said to be active from Afghanistan from its bases in Herat, Kandahar and Jalalabad, in Afghanistan and from Mashad and Zahedan, in Iran.

    If Pakistan acts upon the American agenda, Iran would certainly take counter measures and foment trouble in Balochistan. Some analysts even suspect that the United States is involved to checkmate China. Pakistan government is obliged to look toward Islamic forces to counter nationalist elements. Although lately things have somewhat cooled down and negotiations are in progress, it is not a time for complacency. A three -pronged strategy is needed: carrot or stick policy towards the sardars, grant of provincial autonomy within the framework of 1973 Constitution and resources for development at grassroots level. The idea of setting up cantonments may be dropped if the sardars are prepared to ensure the security of installations.

    Continued . . .

    Amicus

    [Continued from Part One]

    Iran and the Issue of nuclear Proliferation:

    It is no more a secret that ‘the Khan network’ was involved in transfer of nuclear know-how to Iran. On 23 November 2004, the US CIA issued a report that Dr. Khan not only sold advanced uranium-enrichment centrifuges to Iran but probably also an actual nuclear-weapon design and some nuclear material. Although Pakistan government has placed complete responsibility on Dr. Khan, common sense finds it difficult to swallow that this happened without the knowledge of the top brass in the armed forces when virtually the whole nuclear program was under military control.

    It is understood that Pakistan government has conceded to provide all information that it owns about Iran’s nuclear program, provided other sensitive people in Pakistan suspected of involvement in the clandestine activity are not taken to task. Pakistan has agreed to hand over used centrifuge to International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and it is anticipated that by comparing the levels of enrichment found in the traces of uranium discovered in Iran with that of Pakistani centrifuge, the IAEA would implicate Iran. The United States is said to have infiltrated its agents into Iran from Afghanistan with detection devices known as sniffers that would check atmosphere for evidence of radioactive emissions.

    Once irrefutable evidence of nuclear weapons program against Iran is available, the United States may refer the matter to the UN Security Council for imposition of sanctions on Iran, or may opt for military strike on Iran’s nuclear installations or go for regime change in Iran. Since internal security situation in Iraq and Afghanistan is not conducive, the United States may seek Pakistan’s support for its overt or covert operation against Iran. For covert action the United States may demand use of Pakistani territory to relay broadcasts and telecasts, to disseminate propaganda material, to establish contacts with dissident groups or to infiltrate them into Iran from Pakistani Balochistan. It is believed that General Musharraf has been cooperating with the United States against Iran since February 2002 and this cooperation has been stepped up since early 2004. Reportedly the CIA is planning to re-activate the Sunni Baloch against the Shia regime of Iran and to shift the Mujahideen-e-Khalq cadres based in Iraq into Iran for destabilizing the government.

    ‘War on Terrorism’

    After 9/11, Pakistan had offered all out support to the United States in its war against the Taliban regime in Afghanistan. Subsequently, a large number of Al-Qaeda warriors, probably including some high-value targets, and Taliban remnants had based them inside Pakistani territory particularly in South Waziristan from where they continued to mount sporadic attacks on the coalition and Afghanistan forces. During April-May 2004, ‘Hammer and Anvil’ operation was launched jointly, by the coalition troops and the Pakistan armed forces, from two sides on Afghanistan-Pakistan border.

    Although most of the foreigner’s ____ Arabs, Chechens and Uzbeks ____ left Pakistan, the operation proved very costly with casualties on both sides running into hundreds. Along with Islamic militants, a large number of civilians were killed creating much bad blood among the Pushtuns.

    Within the armed forces there was strong resentment and some officers and troops refused to obey the order to fire on fellow Muslims resulting in their court martial. Desperate attempts were made on the life of President General Pervez Musharraf and Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz who escaped miraculously. Since then sporadic warfare had continued in South Waziristan.

    Reportedly, now Mulla Omer, the Taliban leader, has issued instructions to his followers not to confront the Pakistan armed forces. The militants of Waziri tribes have concluded truce with Pakistan authorities. Only a small group under Abdullah Mehsud is sticking to guns. Hopefully things would cool down due to Mulla Omer’s instructions.

    Apparently there is realization on the part of Pakistan government that it would be a bad strategy to confront the Islamic militants when Balochistan is simmering under nationalists. Islamic militants are Pakistan’s most trust-worthy line of defense that must be tamed but not lost.

    The Composite Dialogue with India:

    The composite dialogue with India that began with much funfair in early 2004 is likely to enter the troubled water over the core issue of Kashmir. Nevertheless, the agreement on Muzzafarabad-Sri Nagar bus service is a major break-through. It is also a good sign that progress has been made on the opening of the Khokharapar-Monabao rail link.

    Although some so-called jihad elements have threatened to disrupt the bus service, Pakistan and India seem determined to thwart such designs. The Hurriyat Conference has appreciated the softening of the borders and has called for more positive steps, which is, understandable. However, the human right violations in occupied Kashmir is a matter of grave concern and so is the news that banned militant Kashmiri outfits have been allowed by Pakistan to reappear with new names.

    Pakistan’s Options:

    Referring to the dilemma of mid-1960s when Pakistan decided to pursue a policy based on ‘bilateralism’ in its relations with the Great Powers, President Ayub Khan observed in his Friends, Not Masters:

    “The objective was to establish normal relations with the major powers involved in Asia without antagonizing any one of them. A simple strategy was evolved to achieve this objective. We should endeavor to set up bilateral equations with each of them, with the clear understanding that the nature and complexion of the equation should be such as to promote our mutual interests without adversely affecting the legitimate interests of third parties.”

    Highlighting the difficulties involved in pursuing such a policy, Ayub Khan stated:

    “No bilateral equation could be established in isolation, other equations would influence its level. In the end each equation would be determined by the limits of tolerance of third parties. So each equation would have to be acceptable to third parties with whom we might be able to establish bilateral relations of mutual benefit. That is where all the complications and difficulties would arise. It would be like walking on a triangular tightrope. It would be vital to determine clearly the limits of tolerance within which bilateral equations might be constructed.”

    Although easier said than done, Ayub Khan’s observations offer some important guidelines his successor.

    If Pakistan goes along with the United States to become its regional policeman, it is likely to receive substantial economic and financial assistance. The United States would be pleased to strengthen Pakistan’s conventional defense capabilities and would ensure that no problem arises from its eastern neighbor, India. Simultaneously, Pakistan would be expected to freeze its nuclear program, accept American role in command and control system of its nuclear assets on the pretext that they should be safeguarded from falling into the hands of the terrorists and, at some stage, to recognize Israel. In due course, Pakistan would become a liberal society with divorce between state and religion. Perhaps it would become an Egypt of Asia, with pockets of Islamic resistance occasionally showing its presence.

    If Pakistan goes too far with China i.e., if it allows China to project military power in the Arabian Sea, it is likely to face the wrath of the United States and India. In such an eventuality, the United States and India are bound to join hands in destabilizing Balochistan. There should not be slightest doubt about it. God forbid, the United States may even successfully conspire to severe Balochistan and Karachi from Pakistan and allow India to establish its hegemony over Punjab and Sindh who would then be nominally independent.

    If Pakistan goes all along with India, its ultimate fate would be that of a client state playing second fiddle to that country. Pakistan’s market would be at the mercy of India’s giant economy and there would be complete erosion of its ideology leading to a big question mark about its very existence as an independent state.

    Pakistan should proceed with the Gwadar port project without offering any military facilities to China on the Balochistan coast that may be of genuine concern to the United States. According to some reports China has already acquired facilities to monitor oil shipment from the Strait of Hormuz that passes from near Gwadar. It is also important that the fears and apprehensions of the Baloch nationalists are addressed to the maximum extent. In case there are still substantial chances of foreign interference, the prospects of economic benefits should not make Pakistan blind to its national security and it should slow down the progress on the mega projects till the time is propitious. It was a right decision that the opening of the Gwadar port at the hands of the Chinese Prime Minister on 5 April 2005 was cancelled.

    Similarly, Pakistan should never become an instrument in American hands for ‘containment’ of China. The United States’ interest in Pakistan is for negative purpose whereas China has very vital strategic interests in Pakistan and can be relied upon in hour of need. During 1960s Pakistan had successfully withstood American pressure when it befriended China. In the midst of the Afghanistan war Pakistan turned down the offer of AWACS because China apprehended that they would be used by Americans to monitor parts of Xingiang. This time Pakistan should decline to accept any role that is meant to militarily contain China. This means that Pakistan should not offer any military facilities on the Arabian coast to the United States either or establish any links with NATO or the US Central Command specifically against Chinese security interests.

    Pakistan should never allow its territory to be used against Iran for military strike on its nuclear installations or regime change. This may lead to serious resentment and active dissent within the armed forces from Islamist and Shia elements. However, it may postpone a final decision on Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline for an indefinite period. In the meantime, Turkmenistan- Afghanistan- Pakistan gas pipeline project should proceed and India be offered its benefits.

    Beset my multiple dangers, Pakistan cannot do with a hostile India in its neighborhood. At a time when India is spreading its tentacles of defense cooperation to Iran, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Tajikistan, it is all the more important. It is in the interest of Pakistan to continue with its composite dialogue with India even if no substantial progress is made on the Kashmir dispute. The confidence-building measures should ultimately extend to the activities of the ISI in India’s eastern and north-eastern provinces and of the RAW in Balochistan, Sindh and tribal areas. Both should adhere to the five principles of peaceful co-existence. However, Pakistan should never be oblivious to its defense capabilities ____ conventional and non-conventional ____, and should not be liberal in promoting cultural ties with India lest it erode Pakistan’s ideological foundation.

    As regards American ‘war on terrorism’, Pakistan has already done a lot and could do more. However, Pakistan’s responsibility is confined to ensuring that its territory is not used by Al-Qaeda or the Taliban remnants. Let it be absolutely clear that Pakistan cannot afford to alienate its own people to ingratiate the United States.

    In his first public speech as Pakistan’s Ambassador in Washington, General Jehangir said:

    “From a policy of active interference and destabilization of Afghanistan, Pakistan is working with the US for a stable and friendly Afghanistan. From a policy of hostility and confrontation with India, Pakistan now has a policy of dialogue and conflict resolution. From a policy of appeasement and political expediency with extremist religious elements, Pakistan has moved to confronting them to end their negative influence and activities. From a clandestine nuclear program with proliferation consequences, Pakistan has moved to a regime of command, control and international cooperation.”

    About the author: Amicus is the pseudonym of Advocate Mohammed Yousuf. With sixteen years in legal practice, presently Yousuf is a member of the Foreign Liaison Committee of Pakistan Peoples Party. He has written extensively on Islam and Islamist Militancy. The views expressed in this article are his own and do not necessarily represent the official policy of Pakistan Peoples Party. Advocate Yousuf can be reached at: mohammedyousuf@hotmail.com


  2. zubair (unregistered) on November 17th, 2005 @ 2:27 pm

    OMG!!!! they declared PIDC a no parking zone??? Great!!! :D :D :D … nah. just kidding.

    I think they’ll remove the ban in a few days.

    Or else, you might all go and park your car in front of Chief Minister house and walk to your offices to work, it’s not so far from there anyways.



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