Archive for the ‘Pakistan’ Category

Indian Newspaper: Pakistan’s Zardari Has Legitimacy, But No Authority

December 4, 2008

In the wake of the carnage in Mumbai, India is contemplating another round of coercive diplomacy. But the geopolitical winds are unfavourable. In 2002, India was successful in pushing Washington to arm-twist Pakistan. The then ruler Pervez Musharraf learnt a lesson. Today, India has less left behind its push, Islamabad has a greater hold over the US and, in any case, the lights are going out in the White House.

Most Indians believe the Army mobilisation that followed the Lashkar-e-Tayyeba (LeT) attack on Parliament in 2002 was much sound and fury signifying nothing. It didn’t bring peace on earth. But Islamabad did learn a lesson and paid a price — which should be the goal of any Indian response to Pakistan-based terrorist outrage.

Pramit Pal Chaudhuri, Hindustan Times

In this picture released by Pakistan People's Party, then ruling ... 
President Zardari.  No authority?
AP Photo/Pakistan People’s Party

The lesson of 2002: before 9/11, Islamabad could count on the US jumping in during any India-Pakistan terror crisis, point fingers at the two countries’ nuclear weapons and persuade New Delhi not to retaliate. After 9/11, the Bush administration told Pakistan, “If India wants to bloody your nose, they have the right.” US embassy officials rang up Indian journalists to stress that the US was no longer using the word ‘restraint’ when it came to India.

The price of 2002: India, after considering and abandoning the demand for the extradition of 20 terrorists because it feared its own courts would let them go, demanded Pakistan put an end to militant infiltration into Kashmir. New Delhi knew very well this would be a band-aid concession. But it calculated a few months of border quiet would be enough to push through a peaceful and fair Kashmir election. Its success on that front is the main reason the turbulent state has seen relatively low levels of violence since 2002.

Outwardly, it seems like India could play the same game again. Pakistan has denuded its border with India of troops. Most have been transferred to fight recalcitrant militants in Pakistan’s tribal areas. If India waves a big stick, these troops would have to return to the eastern border. Washington is desperate for that not to happen as its Afghan war effort would be crippled. In theory, then, the US would be prepared to press Pakistan to cough up a concession to ensure the troop transfer doesn’t happen. However, the landscape has changed in all three countries. The most telling is that President George W. Bush is down to his last 50 days in office. There is very little desire in the US to cut the ground from under President Asif Ali Zardari’s feet. He is Mr Nice Guy and Mr Best Hope.

Which raises a question: whom exactly is there to arm-twist in Pakistan? As the recent ‘Now he’s coming, now he’s not’ farce over the ISI chief showed, Zardari only thinks he’s President. He has legitimacy, but no authority. Military chief General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani has authority, but no legitimacy.

General Kayani.  Photo Anjum Naveed/Associated Press

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Mumbai: Captive Terrorist Talking, Names Pak Kingpins, Says Indian Sites Evaluated in 2007

December 4, 2008

A Pakistani militant group apparently used an Indian operative as far back as 2007 to scout targets for the elaborate plot against India’s financial capital, authorities said Thursday, a blow to Indian officials who have blamed the deadly attacks entirely on Pakistani extremists.

By SAM DOLNICK, Associated Press Writer

As investigators sought to unravel the attack on Mumbai, stepping up questioning of the lone captured gunman, airports across India were put on high alert amid fresh warnings that terrorists planned to hijack an aircraft.

Also Thursday, police said there were signs that some of the six victims of the attack on a Jewish center may have been tortured. “The victims were strangled,” said Rakesh Maria, a senior Mumbai police official. “There were injuries noticed on the bodies that were not from firing.”

Indian paramilitary soldiers stand guard during heightened security ... 
Indian paramilitary soldiers stand guard during heightened security checks at Chennai International airport in Chennai, India, Thursday, Dec. 4, 2008. Indian airports were put on high alert after the government received warnings of possible airborne attacks.(AP Photo)

Members of an Israeli rescue group which had a team in Mumbai said it was impossible to tell if the bodies had been abused, however, because no autopsies were conducted in accordance with Jewish tradition.

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http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081204/ap_on_re_as/as_india_shooting

How India fumbled response to Mumbai attack

December 4, 2008

It took 10 minutes for word of the Nov. 26 , Mumbai terror assaults to reach the top of the government of Maharashtra state, but nearly 10 hours for India‘s best commando team to reach the scene.

That delay may help to explain why it took three days for India’s security forces to overpower 10 assailants who police say killed at least 188 people and wounded more than 280.

By Padma Rao Sundarji, McClatchy Newspapers

Indecision by politicians and the delay in launching the commando force, however, don’t fully account for the extent of the slaughter, which now threatens to escalate into conflict between nuclear-armed India and Pakistan , where the attacks are thought to have been planned.

“This was not the fault of any one organ of the security apparatus, but a systemic failure,” said Arun Bhagat , a former chief of India’s Intelligence Bureau , India’s main domestic intelligence agency.

Indian officials ignored advance intelligence warnings. Police officers ran away from the scenes of carnage because they lacked weapons, and their bulletproof vests were said to be defective. The Indian coast guard doesn’t have night vision equipment, much less the more advanced human detection gear used by China , Japan and other countries.

India’s security agencies are now rushing to point the finger at each other.

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http://news.yahoo.com/s/mcclatchy/20081204/wl_mcclatchy/3115227

Security Scare at Delhi’s Airport In India

December 4, 2008

The police force in charge of security at Delhi’s main airport has denied reports that people have been shot and injured there.

Police are investigating “two sharp sounds that were heard at the airport”, the force told the BBC’s Delhi bureau.

Earlier, airport officials told the BBC shots had been fired, and that several gunmen had been killed or injured.

Security has been strengthened at Indian airports after warnings of possible attacks.

Indian media reported that operations at Delhi’s main international airport appeared to have returned to normal after security forces examined the terminal after the security alert.

Tensions have been high in India since last week when at least 10 gunmen went on a shooting spree in Mumbai, killing nearly 200 people.

Indian officials have blamed Pakistan-based militants for the Mumbai attacks.

BBC News

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An Indian paramilitary official stands guard at the Indira Gandhi ... 
An Indian paramilitary official stands guard at the Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi on December 4. India has put all of its major airports on high alert following warnings of possible attacks using hijacked airlines, officials have said.(AFP/Manan Vatsyayana)

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Airports in India went on high alert Thursday following fresh attack warnings as officials said India suspects two senior leaders of a banned Pakistani militant group orchestrated the deadly Mumbai attacks.

The alert came as Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari promised the U.S. secretary of state his country would take “strong action” against any elements in Pakistan involved in last week’s siege.

By RAMOLA TALWAR BADAM, Associated Press Writer

The new alert that warned of possible airborne attacks focused on three major airports — New Delhi, Bangalore and Chennai — but security was stepped up across India. No details about the threat were released.

“This is a warning which we have received. We are prepared as usual,” India’s air force chief, Fali Homi Major, told reporters.

The British Broadcasting Corp. cited unconfirmed reports from airport officials as saying late Thursday that up to six gunmen had been shot and killed at New Delhi’s international airport. But Indian police told The Associated Press there was a minor incident and no deaths. “It was not a terrorist incident. No one was killed,” said police spokesman Rajan Bhagat. He gave no further details.

Heavily armed guards from India’s Rapid Deployment Force manned roadblocks outside airports, while others patrolled inside airport buildings among passengers.

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http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081204/ap_on_re_as/as_india_shooting

Indian Media In Total Disbelief At Pakistan’s Denials On Mumbai

December 4, 2008

Newspapers and other media in India are expressing the opinion heard from the “man on the street,” that Pakistan is to blame completely and entirely for the recent terrorism within India, including the Mumbai bloodshed last week.

This picture released by the Press Information Department shows ... 
This picture released by the Press Information Department shows Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari (R) talking with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice during a meeting in Islamabad. The White House on Thursday called on Pakistan to “act with resolve, urgency” in cooperating with India on the probe into attacks in Mumbai that stoked tension between the nuclear rivals.(AFP/PID)

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From the Times of India

….The government feels the attack this time was meticulously planned, with the help of top intelligence inputs and professional support. It thinks that it’s unlikely the Indian fishing trawler Kuber was hijacked. A well-planned attack mission like this would not depend on the off-chance of hijacking a boat for its success. Rather, the Indian crew of the boat were probably mixed up in smuggling and got sucked into this deadly game. And paid with their lives.

The government knows the attack originated from Pakistan. In fact, the Pakistan government doesn’t deny this. Even now when Asif Ali Zardari is telling Larry King that the attackers are “stateless people”, he isn’t saying they are not Pakistanis. Earlier, foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, who was in India when the attack took place, told the media he was willing to send the ISI chief for a joint probe, signaling that he believed the attackers were Pakistanis.

When Manmohan Singh called up Zardari and Pakistan PM Gilani, both said the ISI director general Shuja Pasha would be sent to India to help out with the investigations. But by evening, the picture had changed. An ISI spokesman sounded very iffy about Pasha’s visit. “Let the government tell us and we’ll see,” he said.

In short, the ISI was telling the civilian government to get off. Meanwhile, the Pakistan army sounded a warning about an Indian military build-up along the border. Newspapers close to the army, like Pakistan Observer and Frontier Post, and TV channel Geo, played up this alleged build-up. Suddenly, the popular mood was turning — from a sense of outrage at the Mumbai killings to alarm about a possible Indian attack.

Pakistani students of Islami Jamiat-e-Tulba burn an Indian flag ... 
Pakistani students of Islami Jamiat-e-Tulba burn an Indian flag during a protest in Multan. Pakistan has promised US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice that it will take “strong action” against anyone on its territory found to have been involved in the Mumbai attacks.(AFP/Mohammad Malik)

Why did the Pakistan army do this? First, to deflect attention from the Mumbai attack into which the ISI was being dragged (ISI and the army are very close after Pakistan army chief Kayani hand-picked Lt Gen Pasha as the ISI boss). Second, it was signaling to the world that the civilian government didn’t matter; what mattered was the army.

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http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Battling_jihadis_
India_has_few_options/articleshow/3794488.cms

Pakistan’s Police Losing Terrorism Fight

December 4, 2008

If India’s reaction to the revelation that Pakistan was involved in the Mumbai terrorism didn’t get your attention; this headline might.  Pakistan is roiling from the impact of a widespread terror insurgency, combined with total financial bankruptcy of the nation and internal disputes and rivalries added to decades of unrest with India.  Pakistan’s Army is pinned down in the tribal areas on the border with Afghanistan; trying to wrestle control and influence from the Taliban and al-Qaeda.  And last weekend, in Pakistan’s largest city, Karachi, rival groups went on a riotous rampage…..

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Brothers Mushtaq and Ishaq Ali left the police force a month ago, terrified of dying as their colleagues had — beheaded by militants on a rutted village road before a shocked crowd.

They went straight to the local Urdu-language newspaper to announce their resignation. They were too poor to pay for a personal ad, so the editor of The Daily Moon, Rasheed Iqbal, published a news story instead. He has run dozens like it.

“They just want to get the word out to the Taliban that they are not with the police anymore so they won’t kill them,” said Iqbal. “They know that no one can protect them, and especially not their fellow policemen.”

Pakistani police officers launch an operation against criminals ... 
Pakistani police officers launch an operation against criminals in Karachi’s troubled area of Lyari, Pakistan, on Thursday, Dec. 4, 2008. Criminals and police exchanged fire during the action that killed one person and injured three, local police said.(AP Photo/Fareed Khan)

Outgunned and out-financed, police in volatile northwestern Pakistan are fighting a losing battle against insurgents, dozens of interviews by The Associated Press show. They are dying in large numbers, and many survivors are leaving the force.

Kathy Gannon, Associated Press Writer

The number of terrorist attacks against police has gone up from 113 in 2005 to 1,820 last year, according to National Police Bureau. The death toll for policemen in that time has increased from nine to 575. In the northwestern area alone, 127 policemen have died so far this year in suicide bombings and assassinations, and another 260 have been wounded.

The crisis means the police cannot do the nuts-and-bolts work needed to stave off an insurgency fueled by the Taliban and al-Qaida. While the military can pound mountain hideouts, analysts and local officials say it is the police who should hunt down insurgents, win over the people, and restore order.

A Pakistani police officers seen outside the heavily guarded ...
A Pakistani police officers seen outside the heavily guarded Badaber police station at outskirt of Peshawar, Pakistan, Tuesday Nov 4, 2008. Police officers left the police force a month ago, terrified of dying as their colleagues had — beheaded by militants on a rutted village road before a shocked crowd.(AP Photo/Mohammad Sajjad)

“The only way to save Pakistan is to think of extremism and insurgency in North West Frontier Province as a law enforcement issue,” said Hassan Abbas, a South Asia expert at Harvard University’s Belfer Center Project for Science. “Rather than buying more F-16s, Pakistan should invest in modernizing its police.”

In the Swat Valley, militants have turned a once-idyllic mountain getaway into a nightmare of bombings and beheadings despite a six-month military operation to root them out. About 300 policemen have fled the force already.

On a recent evening in Mardan, Akhtar Ali Shah had just slipped out of his deputy police inspector’s uniform to head home. In an escort vehicle, a half-dozen of his guards had inched outside the giant white gates of the police station for a routine security check.

The bomb exploded minutes later. Through a cloud of dust and dirt, Shah saw five of his six guards lying dead near the blood-smeared gate. The head of the suicide bomber rested nearby.

“We are the ones who are getting killed by the terrorists that we are facing,” Shah said later.

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http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081204/ap_on_re_as/as_pakistan_police_under_fire

Rice says Pakistan pledges to help find Mumbai suspects

December 4, 2008

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Thursday that the Pakistani government had pledged to cooperate in rounding up suspects of the Mumbai terror attacks who operated from Pakistani territory or were of Pakistani origin.

By Salman Masood and Robert F. Worth
International Herald Tribune

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice meeting with Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani of Pakistan, right, in Islamabad on Thursday. Also shown in photo: U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Richard Boucher, left, and the U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan, Anne Patterson. (B.K.Bangash/The Associated Press)

Rice flew to the Pakistani capital Thursday for talks after discussions Wednesday with Indian officials in New Delhi. She stressed that both India and Pakistan should cooperate fully to investigate the Mumbai  attacks and bring to justice those who perpetrated them. More than 170 people were killed in an onslaught on targets including two luxury hotels, a Jewish center, a café and a railroad station. Of a presumed 10 attackers, all but one were killed.

“What I heard was a commitment that this is the course that will be taken,” Rice told reporters at Chaklala Air Base after meeting with President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani.

In Mumbai, investigators reported Thursday that inquiries so far had produced gruesome new evidence suggesting savage treatment of some of the eight Israelis killed at the Jewish center. Some of them appeared to have strangulation marks and wounds on their bodies did not come from gunshots or grenades, Rakesh Maria, a joint commissioner of police in Mumbai, told reporters.

He said interrogation of the survivor among the attackers had provided new evidence identifying another operative of the Lashkar-e-Taiba group said to have indoctr….

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http://www.iht.com/articles/2008/12/04/asia/05mumbai.php

U.S. Message to Pakistan: Battle Terror, Not India

December 4, 2008

U.S. officials said Wednesday that they are pressing Pakistan to change the primary mission of its intelligence services from preparing for war with India to actively helping the fight against Islamic extremists, some of whom have been linked to last week’s attacks in Mumbai.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice (L) shakes hands with ... 
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice (L) shakes hands with India’s Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee before their meeting in New Delhi December 3, 2008.(B Mathur/Reuters)

That is the message Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Michael G. Mullen are delivering to President Asif Ali Zardari in Islamabad this week, the officials said. Adm. Mullen was in Pakistan on Wednesday and Miss Rice was expected there Thursday.

Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and parts of its military have been accused of being too close to militant groups that have staged numerous attacks in both Pakistan and neighboring India.

By Nicholas Kralev
The Washington Times

The chief of the United States military, admiral Mike Mullen, ... 
Chairman of the United States Joint Chief of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen Wednesday asked Pakistan to “investigate aggressively” any possible links that groups based in Pakistan have to the Mumbai attacks.(AFP/Getty Images/File/Jason Kempin)

“The ISI has been geared up for years to fight its neighbor next door,” a senior U.S. official said in reference to India. “It’s supportive of the Taliban in Afghanistan; it’s skeptical of the war on terror and thinks it’s a war against Islam. That has to change.”

In the aftermath of the Mumbai attacks, which killed at least 170 and wounded hundreds, “the situation has changed dramatically, and Pakistan has to follow every lead” to get to the bottom of the plot, he said.

“Otherwise, the Indians might decide that Pakistan cannot be counted on to be a partner in the war on terror,” said the official, who asked not to be named because he was discussing sensitive private exchanges with the nuclear-armed rivals.

Indian security forces are holding the only Mumbai attacker to be captured alive, and officials there say he has admitted to being a Pakistani and a member of Lashkar-e-Taiba, an Islamist group thought by some to have ties to current and former ISI members.

The U.S. official said the real war is with militants along Pakistan’s border with Afghanistan. Some Pakistani officials have suggested that they may need to move troops from that border to the Indian border if tensions rise further. But the U.S. official said there are “no signs that India will move additional forces” to the border.

To make sure the Indians give Pakistan no excuse to transfer troops, Miss Rice visited New Delhi on Wednesday. She said that any response by India “needs to be judged by its effectiveness in prevention and also by not creating other unintended consequences or difficulties.”

Related:

Mumbai Terrorists: The Facts We Know

 Banned Pakistani Militant Leaders Believed Orchestrated Mumbai

Banned Pakistani Militant Leaders Believed Orchestrated Mumbai

December 4, 2008

India has their names, identities and some clues.  Peace and Freedom believes perhaps torture, truth serum was used on captured Mumbai terrorist Ajmal Amir Kasab to prompt a confession….

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India suspects two senior leaders of a banned Pakistani militant group orchestrated the three-day siege of the country’s financial capital that killed at least 171 people, Indian officials said Thursday.

Evidence collected in the investigation pointed to Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi and Yusuf Muzammil as masterminds behind the bloody rampage in Mumbai, according to two government officials familiar with the matter.

Lakhvi and Muzammil are top members of the outlawed Pakistani group Lashkar-e-Taiba — which India blames in attacks — and are believed to be living in Pakistan, the officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to speak publicly about the details. Lakhvi has been identified as the group’s chief of operations and Muzammil as its operations chief in Kashmir and other parts of India.

By RAMOLA TALWAR BADAM, Associated Press Writer

The revelations came as Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice arrived in Pakistan Thursday for meetings with civilian and military leaders after visiting Indian leaders in New Delhi. She aimed to raise pressure on Pakistan’s government to help get to the bottom of the terror attacks, saying that Pakistan must mount a “robust response” to bring the terrorists to justice.

The U.S. wants Pakistan to do more to go after terror cells rooted in Pakistan. Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mike Mullen was pushing the same message in Pakistan on Wednesday.

Indian airports, meanwhile, were put on high alert after the government received warnings of possible airborne attacks.

“This is based on a warning, which has been received and we are prepared as usual,” India’s air force chief, Fali Homi Major, told the Press Trust of India news agency Thursday.

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Times of London

Indian police interrogators are preparing to administer a “truth serum” on the sole Islamic militant captured during last week’s terror attacks in Mumbai to settle once and for all the question of where he is from.

The mystery of the man dubbed “the baby-faced gunman” has weighed heavily on India’s relations with Pakistan as the nuclear-armed neighbors dispute each other’s accounts of his origin.

FILE  INDIA OUT. CREDIT MANDATORY  ...
Above: Nov. 26: Azam Amir Kasab walks at the Chatrapathi Sivaji Terminal railway station in Mumbai, India. AP

Police interrogators in Mumbai told The Times that they have “verified” that Azam Amir Kasab, who was captured after a shoot-out in a Mumbai railway station on Wednesday night, is from Faridkot, a small village in Pakistan’s impoverished south Punjab region. They say that the nine dead gunmen are also Pakistani.

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http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,461067,00.html

India Says U.S. Has Given O.K. To Strikes Into Pakistan if Islamabad fails To Assist With Mumbai

December 3, 2008

The United States has set the stage for punitive internationally-backed strikes by India against terrorist camps in Pakistan, if Islamabad does not act first to dismantle them, by rejecting President Zardari’s alibi that non-state actors were responsible for the last week’s carnage in Mumbai.

The Times of India 

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http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/US_sets_stage_for_
strikes_if_Pak_does_not_act/articleshow/3789520.cms

Related:
 Banned Pakistani Militant Leaders Believed Orchestrated Mumbai

U.S. Messge to Pakistan: Battle Terror, Not India

Zardari Says Pakistan “In No Way” Responsible for Mumbai Attacks

Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari denied his nation was involved in last week’s deadly attacks on Mumbai, India, and told CNN on Tuesday he’s seen no evidence that a suspect in custody is a Pakistani national as Indian officials claim.

CNN
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“I think these are stateless actors who have been operating all throughout the region,” Zardari said on CNN’s “Larry King Live” in an interview set to air Tuesday night. “The gunmen plus the planners, whoever they are, [are] stateless actors who have been holding hostage the whole world.”

At least 179 people were killed when a band of gunmen attacked 10 targets in Mumbai on Wednesday night, triggering three days of battles with police and Indian troops in the heart of the city — the hub of India’s financial and entertainment industries. Most of the deaths occurred at the city’s top two hotels: the Oberoi and the Taj Mahal.

Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari says he believes the Mumbai attackers were "stateless actors."

Above: Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari says he believes the Mumbai attackers were “stateless actors.”

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http://www.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/asiapcf/12/02/pa
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