Dear John E. Carey,
Peace and Freedom
Dear Sir,Today I am really happy when I saw you in action in your blog. During the whole week I remained very disturbed as I was very worry about you. I have continued praying for your well-being.
I do not know why, but I have developed a special relation with you. You have been great deal of help to us. Great. I am glad we are still working the same effort.
Situation in our areas is very tense as the terrorists and Taliban have been trying to assert themselves. Now they have been making desperate moves.
Several suicide attacks were carried out in parts of Pakistan and tribal areas in which hundreds of people have been killed. I think President Musharraf has now been showing some seriousness in war on terrorism. It is because of you that now Musharraf government has changed its attitude towards terrorists and Taliban.
But there are still some officials who have been providing support to Taliban and terrorists. Today the NWFP Governor Ali Muhammad Jan Aurakzai, who also the controlling authority of the tribal areas has called Taliban leaders to Governor’s House situated in Peshawar for a meeting.
The governor during the meeting with Taliban asked them not to break up the deal made with him some two years ago.
On the one President Musharraf has been saying that no deal will be made with Taliban, but on his governor has begging to Taliban for peace.
I think Pakistan leaders are incapable to face the Taliban in the fighting and this is the reason that they have been begging to Taliban and terrorists. I think they have still been playing the double game. Taliban have already announced the breaking up of deal made with the government of Pakistan. The fighting is still going in North and South Wazirisitan tribal region.
The attack on rally on the defuct chief justice has shocked the whole country. But the leaders have still been playing the politics. A newspaper commentator stated that asuicide-bomber has blown up a PPP stall outside a lawyers’ venue in Islamabad and killed 16 and wounded 63. The lawyers insist that the bomber had come to kill the chief justice of Pakistan, Mr Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, who was to address them, and broadly suggested that it might be the government which wanted to get rid of the fired judge. But the chairperson of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), Ms Benazir Bhutto, says the bomber targeted the PPP stall and blamed the terrorists that the government is no longer able to control.
Eyewitnesses were agreed that the blast was caused by a suicide-bomber and that it was not a time-device, as claimed by the lawyers.
Islamabad officials were reluctant to concede that the PPP alone was targeted. They tended to include the PMLN stall in the target, but eyewitnesses insisted that the bomber avoided the PMLN stall and specifically entered the PPP tent. Curiously, the two tents were adjacent to each other, which had caused the two parties to fling hostile slogans at each other, and some office-bearers had stood in the middle to prevent a clash. The police stated that the head of the bomber had been found and that bits of the suicide jacket he used had also been collected.
The interior minister, Mr Aftab Sherpao, clearly held elements in Waziristan responsible for the blast.There is no doubt that Al Qaeda has targeted the PPP once again. Ms Bhutto referred to the statement issued by the Al Qaeda leader Ayman Al Zawahiri the day following the Lal Masjid operation, vowing revenge.
The target was obvious: the PPP had approved of the military operation while all the political opposition in Pakistan had challenged it. Earlier, at the all parties-conference (APC) in London, the PPP had stood aside from the opposition consensus by not consorting with the religious parties that tended to dominate the event, prompting Imran Khan of Tehreek Insaf to say that Ms Bhutto had committed political suicide.
It may be recalled that years ago, Al Qaeda had tried to kill Ms Bhutto through its bomber Ramzi Yusuf, and there were credible reports in the 1990s that Osama bin Laden had funded political efforts in Pakistan to prevent the PPP from coming to power.In a chapter added to her book, Daughter of the East, Ms Bhutto explains her 1990 defeat at the polls:I believe that the age of the terrorist war actually coincided with the conclusion of the Pakistani elections in 1990 and the formation of the Nawaz regime.
The ISI, she writes, chose Ramzi Yusuf, who planned the first attack on the World Trade Centre in 1993, to assassinate her during her election campaign that year. He failed, andwas extradited, on my order, to the United States. That was after Benazir was elected prime minister for the second time that year, and found herself, she says, taking on the extremists again.This time the man targeting her party is Baitullah Mehsud in South Waziristan.
He stands at the head of an assortment of Talibanised fighters that form the foreign legion of Al Qaeda and has all the resources he needs to run South Waziristan as a separate state. He collects taxes and provides services, including salaries for fighters who take orders from him.
The institution of the political agent has come to an end and the Pakistan army and security forces have withdrawn from his territory after unsuccessful attempts to tame him and extend the writ of the state in South Waziristan.
In 2005, when the army found the going tough, it began to pay off the local warlords. It allegedly paid Rs 17 crore to them so that that they could return the money they had received from Al Qaeda prior to changing their loyalties.
But it now appears that they pocketed both the payments.When ARY TV (28 July 2005) interviewed the corps commander of Peshawar he denied paying off the local warlords including Baitullah Mehsud and declared that Baitullah Mehsud used to have 800 people with him; now there are none.
But in two years, it seems, Baitullah Mehsud has accumulated the power to challenge the state from South Waziristan. After the Lal Masjid affair he called a council of his warriors and swore revenge. His Taliban influence extends to many parts of the tribal areas including the Malakand-Swat-Dir region, where a horse-riding Maulana Fazlullah has formed his own mini-state with millions of dollars at his disposal.
The head of the Swat jirga interviewed on TV-ONE on Tuesday clearly stated that the Taliban state had taken over, while the Peshawar government was reluctant to take on the outlaw and was more inclined to blame the agencies. More significantly, the PPP may be targeted for falling outside the opposition consensus led by the religious parties.
This means that the PPP party workers and supporters may be hit in the coming days in the run-up to the 2007 elections, and during the election campaign, when Ms Bhutto will presumably be back in Pakistan. This will give the party a difficult and uneven playing field while the other parties will have a clear advantage by not opposing extremism in the country. Is it time for an all-parties conference by President Musharraf? Probably not.
Given Mr Nawaz Sharif’s APCDM consensus, the preconditions set by the opposition will simply demand his ouster before the elections. As for the PPP’s stance on an APC, Ms Bhutto said Tuesday that her party would consider it within the ARD if the proposal was put up.In this situation of no quarters given, there is talk of an emergency.
But General Musharraf has categorically rejected such talk and said there will be no “emergency” or anything like that and that he will proceed according to his old plan to hold his own presidential elections from the current assemblies and follow up later with the general elections. More significantly, General Musharraf told senior editors yesterday that he would settle the issue of his uniform with the next parliament.
He also appreciated the argument that he needs to enlarge his political support base with like-minded moderate parties and groups in order to take up the challenge of religious extremism. This is good news.
Again thank you very much.
Khar, Bajaur Agency,Tribal Areas Pakistan
[Muhammad is a professional journalist in the tribal areas, Pakistan.]