From Sadruddin Hashwani’s “The Truth Prevails”
I have always believed that stock market is not the barometer of an economy or general well being of population. A few big players or institutional players can manipulate it and the effects may not trickle down to general population. In US case, a rising stock market has the impact of increasing confidence of the people thus resulting in more investments which leads to more employment etc and thus a virtuous cycle may start. However, the same is not the case in Pakistan where Karachi stock exchange has been generating significant returns for last two years but the misery of people and their general well being is not improving.
This is what Bloomberg said in November 2012:
Pakistan is handing equity investors the world’s best risk-adjusted returns as terrorist attacks, power blackouts and a war with Taliban insurgents fail to curb gains in consumer spending that sent profits to a record high.
The KSE 100 Index, the benchmark for Pakistan’s $43 billion equity market, rose 7.3 percent in the past three years when adjusted for price swings, the top gain among 72 markets worldwide, according to the BLOOMBERG RISKLESS RETURN RANKING. Pakistan had lower stock volatility than 82 percent of the nations including the U.S. (SPX) Over five years, Pakistan’s risk- adjusted returns ranked eighth.
We all know how the economy spiralled downwards in last 5 years of PPP government but if we are to go by Karachi Stock Exchange 100 index, we were the 8th best performing market (mind you, on risk adjusted basis) in the world.
This from yesterday’s DAWN. (DAWN has a tendency of changing its website addresses frequently so if the link becomes dead, please let me know in comments and I will try to update it]
(June 29, 2013) For the investors in equities, it is time to celebrate. He who may have invested Rs10 million in the Pakistan stocks on July 1 of last year, would have additional Rs5.2 million in the kitty.
It marks a mouth-watering return of 52 per cent in a year unmatched by any other asset class. During the year, the benchmark KSE-100 index added staggering 7,204 points to settle at the dizzy height of 21,006 points on Friday, the last trading day of the year.
Stock market is not the only growth story. The extortion racket is also growing at an breakneck pace. From Reuters
Businesses in Karachi are facing a surge in extortion demands from criminal gangs, forcing many owners to delay new investment or to relocate their families to escape the sense of insecurity gripping the urban heart of Pakistan’s economy.
The worsening law and order situation in Karachi, which generates 25 percent of Pakistan’s economic activity, presents one of the many challenges new Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif must overcome to fulfill promises to set Pakistan on a path to faster growth.
An expanding middle class is fuelling consumer spending but extortion is hurting confidence among thousands of family-run firms that form the backbone of the economy.
With the Muslim Holy month of Ramadan due to start in July, a traditional time for extortionists to come calling, Karachi traders and shopkeepers are braced for what police say will be a record year of demands.
“The extortion racket has blown out of all proportion with the previous year,” said Ahmed Chinoy, chief of the Citizen Police Liaison Committee (CPLC), a Karachi body set up to help police by providing crime statistics and technical support.
The growing demands reflect the shifting dynamics of a city of 18 million people where new challengers, including Pakistan’s Taliban movement, are locked in an increasingly violent, neighborhood-by-neighborhood battle for control.
Professionals, not just shopkeepers, are also targets.
When Javed Hanif, a doctor, answered his cellphone in June the caller reeled off a list of Hanif’s personal details: his work in a government hospital, the registration number of his car, and preparations for his son’s wedding. The man demanded 500,000 Pakistani rupees.
In spite of the climate of fear, business sentiment is not universally bleak. Retail is booming in Karachi, symbolized by the opening of a flashy modern shopping centre called Dolmen Mall Clifton in 2011 which showcases international brands such as Debenhams and Fatburger.
There is a class of people, I wouldn’t say they are immune, least bothered by increasing lawlessness. They are rich, reside in gated or posh communities, live for conspicuous consumption and to cater to their needs such flashy international brands are coming to Pakistan.
Despite all of the above, population growth rate of Pakistan has not staved off. If things do not improve, the large youth population will be a ticking time bomb. However, for now, they represent a huge, increasing in size and lucrative consumer goods segment. With population moving to urban centres, though it represents a growing segment of consumer goods now, it is taking the creaking infrastructure of cities like Karachi to breaking point.
Changing demographics support growth
“One of the factors driving our growth is the enhanced ability of semi-rural consumers to participate in the economy,” Sabzwari said. “If you compare the urbanisation rate in Pakistan with other developing countries, you will see that we are getting urbanised faster than others,” he pointed out.
A growing middle class and the overall demographics of the population are critical factors driving consumerism. “We have millions of consumers entering independent disposable income space in their lives every year,” Sabzwari pointed out. Pakistan is one of the top countries adding 20-year-olds to the world, and these are the people establishing new families and helping market sizes grow. “Market size here grows in terms of volumes, without taking the pricing into account,” he explained.
All of the above news items point out to fast growth happening in Karachi. But we still haven’t touched upon the fastest growing sector: Target killing. The growth in this murderous business has been phenomenal. If one is in Bori (jute or gunny bags in which dead bodies are occasionally found) business, the prices would have skyrocketed leading to lucrative profit margin.
June 29: Nearly 100 per cent increase has been witnessed in the number of killings across the city during the first five months of the year as compared to last year’s corresponding period, it emerged on Saturday.
While 750 people had been killed between January and May last year, as many as 1,450 people were killed in the city over the past five months, according to the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan.
Now only if we could establish a murder or target killing stock exchange in Karachi like in Somalia for Piracy, the benefits of this growing business can be distributed to common population. From Wall Street Journal
The world’s first pirate stock exchange was established in 2009 in Harardheere, some 250 miles northeast of Mogadishu, Somalia. Open 24 hours a day, the exchange allows investors to profit from ransoms collected on the high seas, which can approach $10 million for successful attacks against Western commercial vessels.
While there are no credible statistics available, reports from various news sources suggest that over 70 entities are listed on the Harardheere exchange. When a pirate operation is successful, it pays investors a share of the profits. According to a former pirate who spoke to Reuters, “The shares are open to all and everybody can take part, whether personally at sea or on land by providing cash, weapons or useful materials. . . . We’ve made piracy a community activity.”
Think about it, this could be the first target killing or murder stock exchange of the world.
Below is link dump of studies of violence in Karachi. Must read if you want to understand the dynamics of violence in Karachi.
- The Open City: Social Networks and Violence in Karachi [PDF Report] – Collective of Social Science Research, London School of Economics
- Karachi’s Violence: Duality and Negotiation [PDF Report] – Collective of Social Science Research, London School of Economics
- Arif Hasan’s various writings on political dynamics of Karachi – ArifHasan.Org
- Conflict Dynamics in Karachi – US Institute of Peace
- Reforming Pakistan‘s Police and Law Enforcement Infrastructure [PDF Report] – US Institute of Peace
- Empowering The Pakistan Police [PDF Report] – US Institute of Peace
- Profiling The Violence in Karachi [PDF Report] – Pakistan Institute of Peace Studies
- Identity and Sectarian Violence [blog post] – Recycled Thought
- Lowest Common Denominator: Ethnic Violence in Karachi [blog post] – Recycled Thought
There comes a time in every idealist’s life wherein he has to decide whether to stay true to his cause or give in to commercial interests. Learning from a post by pseudo-journalist Ali K Chishti wherein he tagged his post about an ISI assassin who used to carry his ISI badge with him(absurd! I know) with totally unrelated but sexual words (Punjabi Girls, Sex, Mujra) most probably to get more visitors to his site and fearful of my dwindling visitor numbers I have decided to do the Faustian bargain for getting more hits. But only for one post now. However, unlike Chishti, tags in my post will be related as each word would have been mentioned in the article.
The quotes below are based on first hand account of a friend who is a Karachi based senior banker from his one day visit to Islamabad and Lahore to meet senior banking professionals and corporate head honchos there. In his own words Pakistanis have a “hyper active imagination”.
Don’t judge me for posting these as I am just a messenger. Moreover, do keep in mind that these are just baseless yet delicious (or disgusting _ based on your perspective) rumors. I have tried to keep editing to minimum to keep the original flavor so any mistakes (grammatical or idiomatic) should be attributed to original narrator. As I said, I am just a messenger.
An unknown Bangladeshi online English-language magazine reported about an affair between Bilawal and Khar. The news went viral overnight and Khar was forced to issue a strong denial about it. It was assumed that ISI planted story to discredit Khar for she was making some ripples in foreign policy area (an area where army traditionally keeps a strong control behind the scenes) and when this rumor got traction, ISPR was forced to issue a clarification that ISI wasn’t behind it. Finally, editor of the online newspaper that broke the news was arrested to avoid creating any more controversies.
2. Sharmila Farooqi is Mr. Zardari’s keep, and she got engaged to someone (adviser to the President) in Presidency for her to have a legit reason to stay there.
3. Yusuf Raza Gilani routinely offers his wife, sister and daughters to get political mileage. He once offered his wife to a senior banker for a loan write off to one of his business entities, the senior banker said, kay mera standard itna kharaab nahin (translation: my standards are not that low).
On this I asked my friend that did the respective senior banker who was offered the wife tell this to you himself. He replied,
Nope, his friend. The guy who told me is Senior Executive Vice President and no. 3 in a bank, and he said, roozi per betha hoon, jhoot nahin bolon gaa (interpretation: he sweared that I am sitting on my livelihood (job) and will not risk it by spreading false rumors)
4. Yusuf Raza Gilani’s son (Ali Musa Gilani) is going steady with Bukhtwar Bhutto, and it was she who stood up to his father for Gilani to be given his place back Pakistan People’s Party
My friend summarized the above items in these words
Generally speaking every one on who’s who list of Islamabad (Pakistan’s Capitol Hill) is screwing either daughter or wife of some other guy on the same list
5. CEO of GEO TV has Sana Bucha’s blue tapes with him, and they would soon be leaked.
GEO TV used a similar tactic earlier. When their high ratings garnering religious anchor and a fake doctorate Aamir Liaquat Hussain had moved over to ARY TV channel, they released compilations of him using expletives when he thought the camera was off (of the time when he used to work at GEO TV).
This should have been the downfall of Aamir Liaquat. Yet to give you a flavor how things work in Pakistan, after this scandalous recording came to life, he was rehired by GEO TV. Commercial interests trumpeting moral superiority, if any. GEO TV even launched a celebratory campaign to announce Dr. Aamir’s coming back to their network
Coming back to the original rumor, Sana Bucha had left GEO TV earlier. She has since been fired or resigned from Dunya News as well. Probably a black mailing game played by GEO TV.
6. When Makhdoom Amin Fahim threatened to leave PPP, Zardari trapped him by depsoiting cash in Amin Fahim’s account, and then tipping off NAB so that he comes running to Mr. Zardari to keep him out of jail.
Enjoy. Now keep those hits coming.
The purpose of this post is to understand insurgency doctrine of terrorist outfit Pakistani Taliban aka Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan aka TTP in light of the insurgency doctrines described in classic counter-insurgency book “Counter Insurgency Warfare: Theory and Practice“, David Galula.
Obviously all wars are different and its pretty hard to squarely fit terrorists in one category or other as terrorists may use every available trick (cheating, lying, exaggerating etc) to gain advantage whenever they can. However, based on certain characteristics and traits of terrorists and their activities, we can broadly classify as following on of the following two patterns:
- Communist party method: orthodox pattern
- Bourgeois nationalist pattern: short cut pattern
The first one is a long and arduous one which communist parties followed in China and Vietnam wherein they indoctrinate the inductees in their cause through training and brainwashing and then subsequently send them out to fight. Lashkar-e-Taiba in Pakistan which has pretty good network of schools, charities and training facilities follows this method.
The second one is short one wherein their is no overarching cause as such other than to create disorder and chaos to gain control over land. They may use certain slogans as religion, sect or ethnicity but other than that they do not have any fixed plan for governing and administering the acquired piece of land. They use terrorizing tactics as explained below. TTP is clearly following this methodology.
1. Communist party method: orthodox pattern
In this step, the first objective is the guerrilla’s survival: the final one, the acquisition of bases in which an insurgent government and administration will be established, the human and other resources exploited, and regular forces created. Guerrilla warfare with no bases, says Mao Tse-tung, is nothing but roving banditism; unable to maintain links with the population, it cannot develop and is bound to be defeated.
Objectively, there is no difference between ordinary, everyday bandit activity in almost every country and the first guerrilla actions. What makes it possible for the guerrillas to survive and to expand? The complicity of the population. This is the key to guerrilla warfare, indeed to the insurgency, and it has been expressed in the formula of the fish swimming in the water. The complicity of the population is not to be confused with the sympathy of the population; the former is active, the latter inactive, and the popularity of the insurgent’s cause is insufficient by itself to transform sympathy into complicity.
The participation of the population in the conflict is obtained, above all, by a political organization (the party) living among the population, backed by force (the guerrilla gangs), which eliminates the open enemies, intimidates the potential ones, and relies on those among the population who actively support the insurgents. Persuasion brings a minority of supporters—they are indispensable—but force rallies the rest. There is, of course, a practical if not ethical limit to the use of force; the basic rule is never to antagonize at any one time more people than can be handled.
MQM in its early days and 90s used this strategy on an ethnic card. However, it has since matured and become pretty mainstream and distanced itself from it urban warfare past of 90s.
Where to operate? In the areas that the counter-insurgent cannot easily control and where the guerrilla gangs can consequently survive and develop. The factors in selecting the first areas of operations are:
- The strength of the insurgent’s organization among the population that has been achieved in preliminary work.
- The remoteness of the areas from the center of the counter-insurgent’s power.
- Their inaccessibility due to terrain and poor communications.
- Their location on both sides of administrative borders, which makes it difficult for the enemy to coordinate his reaction.
The North West region of Pakistan where TTP is currently based fits the above location descriptions pretty well.
Demoralization of the enemy’s forces is an important task. The most effective way to achieve it is by employing a policy of leniency toward the prisoners. They must be well treated and offered the choice of joining the movement or of being set free, even if this means that they will return to the counterinsurgent’s side. Despite its setbacks in the early stages, this is the policy that pays the most in the long run.
A colleague of the author visited a camp at Hsuchow in central China, where the Nationalists kept 5,000 Communist prisoners.
“Where were they caught?” he asked the Nationalist general in charge of the camp.
“Between you and me, we have no more than ten real Communist soldiers among these prisoners.”
“Who are the others then?”
“Nationalist soldiers caught and released by the Communists. We don’t want them to contaminate our army.”
Thus, the Communists had achieved the trick of having the Nationalists themselves watching their own men!
The first clear sign of the Chinese influence on the Vietminh came in 1950, when the Vietminh suddenly changed their attitude toward French prisoners. Instead of slaughtering them, they undertook to brainwash them.
This is where TTP is deviating clearly from Orthodox doctrine. Being a roving band of bandits with nothing but a garb of religion, they definitely do not have superior moral or psychological basis to indoctrinate the captured soldiers. As such, they slaughter them even releasing videos of the slaughtering.
The insurgent must solve a problem created by what we have considered a tactical asset: the scattered nature of his operations. Although this makes it difficult for the counter-insurgent to cope with them, the insurgent must also reconcile the dilution of his forces with the need for unity of action. The solution is a clear, common doctrine widely taught and accepted.
The expansion of the insurgent movement raises the problem of political and military cadres. They are selected on the basis, above all, of their loyalty and, secondly, of their concrete achievements in the field. How important the Communists consider the loyalty of their personnel, cadres, and troops can be seen from the following story. In 1952, a Vietminh regimental commander, hard pressed by French troops in the Red River Delta, pleaded for replacements. The answer from the Vietminh command: “Impossible to send you replacements now; they have not yet received full political indoctrination.”
If we ever overcome TTP insurgents, it will be relatively easier to rehabilitate the captured soldiers as most of them would not have been indoctrinated. True TTP brainwashes them into fighting for them in the name of religion. However, their target is the state because it is “infidel” and may be insurgents join them for their love of religion. The rehabilitation should comprise of teaching the captured TTP warriors that the picture painted by TTP of the state and religion is completely wrong and misguided.
What is very different from past insurgencies and probably what the author is describing in his book is that TTP has made inroads into Karachi which is at the other end of the country. It does not provide the location advantages of North West Pakistan neither does it provide as steady a stream of local recruits. Yet still they have been able to mark their presence. This is something that needs to be further analyzed.
As the overall strength of the insurgent grows while his opponent’s decreases, a balance of forces is reached at some point. In the assessment of the insurgent’s strength must be included not only his military assets but the solidity of his political structure, the fact that the population is mobilized in his areas, the subversive activity of his underground agents in the counter-insurgent’s areas, and finally, the insurgent’s psychological superiority.
From then on, the scope and scale of the insurgent’s operations will increase swiftly; a series of offensives aiming at the complete destruction of the enemy will constitute the last and final step.
At any time during the process, the insurgent may make peace offers, provided there is more to gain by negotiating than by fighting.
Now we come to the second method. As you read through it, you will realize that how neatly it fits the recent pattern of TTP
2. Bourgeois nationalist pattern: short cut pattern
First step: blind terrorism
The purpose is to get publicity for the movement and its cause, and by focusing attention on it, to attract latent supporters. This is done by random terrorism, bombings, arson, assassinations, conducted in as spectacular a fashion as possible, by concentrated, coordinated, and synchronized waves.
Second step: selective terrorism
This quickly follows the first. The aims are to isolate the counterinsurgent from the masses, to involve the population in the struggle, and to obtain as a minimum its passive complicity. This is done by killing, in various parts of the country, some of the low-ranking government officials who work most closely with the population, such as policemen, mailmen, mayors, councilmen, and teachers. Killing high-ranking counterinsurgent officials serves no purpose since they are too far removed from the population for their deaths to serve as examples.
See (Suicide attacks in Mohmand kill 104; peace jirga main target, Dawn; A young suicide bomber dressed in school uniform has blows himself up at an army compound, BBC; Deadly attack at Pakistan funeral procession attended by many anti-Taliban militiamen, BBC)
The early supporters are set to work collecting money from the population. Although money, the sinew of war, is interesting in itself, this operation has important side effects. The amount of money collected provides a simple standard to gauge the efficiency of the supporters and to select leaders accordingly. It also implicates the mass and forces it to show its revolutionary spirit. “You give money, you are with us. You refuse money, you are a traitor.” A few of those unwilling to pay are executed.
See (Taliban Spread Terror in Karachi as the New Gang in Town, NYTimes; Creeping threat: Taliban in Karachi, DAWN)
In order to involve the population further, simple mots d’ordres are circulated, such as “boycott tobacco”; a few violators caught smoking are executed. These assassinations have value only if they serve as examples; therefore they must not be hidden or committed on the sly. The victims are generally found with a tag explaining that they have been condemned by a revolutionary tribunal and executed for such and such a crime.
See (Blast in Sohrab Goth kills 4 near drug den, The News. The report does not state this but it was reported at the time that Taliban asked the drug dealer to shut down his business but he didn’t so the bombed his place.) There are other videos available online of Talibans carrying out beheadings in Karachi for breaking their laws but due to gruesome nature, I am not linking to them.
The insurgent has to destroy all bridges linking the population with the counterinsurgent and his potential allies. Among these, people (generally the liberal-minded) inclined to seek a compromise with the insurgents will be targets of terrorist attacks.
ANP has been talking about negotiating with Talibans and even organized an All Parties Conference to agree on a strategy (see APC supports peace talks with Pakistani Taliban, DAWN) yet Talibans continue to kills it workers nationwide (See Over 700 ANP activists slain to date. Recently they have expanded their hitlist to include other secular parties such as MQM, PPP (See Pakistan election: Taliban threats hamper secular campaign, BBC)
When all this is achieved, conditions are ripe for the insurgent guerrillas to operate and for the population to be mobilized effectively. From there on, this pattern rejoins the orthodox one, if necessary.
Following the news trail and statements of Taliban attacks in Pakistan and mainly urban centres, it is quite clear that TTP is following the short cut strategy. As mentioned in the beginning that classifications are not mutually exclusive so they may use certain strategies that were classified under the orthodox strategy. Any way, the objective of both strategies is the same. To have a piece of land where to set up government, impose your ideology and laws.
This is where TTP is extension into Karachi is hard to fathom. Being the lifeline of the country’s economy, TTP should face immense opposition for threatening it. Yet has been taking over slowly and so far successfully. Whereas running an insurgency in North West of Pakistan with its porous border with Afghanistan and rough terrain is easy, trying to establish a base in Karachi which is an urban landscape covered on one side by sea, flat land on the others with the rural areas of south Baluchistan and Sind not really offering any welcome to Taliban neither in terms of shared ideology, culture nor language. So the question arises, how TTP intends to establish their base and government in Karachi in a region surrounded by relatively inhospitable land for them as well as population which overwhelmingly votes in the secular parties in elections.
Yet TTP has been able to not only infiltrate Karachi but is now engaged in turf war with existing stake holders and even going so far as to eliminate them one by one. They have already unseated ANP from their strong holds in Karachi, their extortion racket now reaches all suburbs of Karachi and they are now openly challenging PPP and MQM for a larger share of the pie.
The major problem – one of the major problems, for there are several – one of the many major problems with governing people is that of whom you get to do it; or rather of who manages to get people to let them do it to them.
To summarize: it is a well-known fact that those people who must want to rule people are, ipso facto, those least suited to do it.
To summarize the summary: anyone who is capable of getting themselves made President should on no account be allowed to do the job.
Douglas Adams, The Restaurant at the End of the Universe
Below I have excerpted from two columns of Ardeshir Cowasjee appearing daily Dawn that shows how much (or little) a man of principle he was.
Bhutto gets a lot of praise for giving us the current constitution of 1973 and subsequent dictators get a lot of blame for introducing amendments in the constitution without any true representation. Bhutto’s track record wasn’t any better. From Dawn
Now, to educate the newborn or moribund constitutional experts who lay much stress on constitutional niceties, using as their bedrock the constitution of 1973. This Constitution promulgated on August 14, 1973, had a life of four, repeat four long hours. It was passed, not unanimously, but by consensus by the many members who believed that as it guaranteed fundamental rights it was better than no constitution at all – and certainly better than martial law. None dissented. The few who were not happy with it abstained.
Before the ink was dry, within four hours of its promulgation, the people of Pakistan were deprived of their constitutionally guaranteed fundamental rights through a Gazette Notification issued by the maker of the Constitution, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. Fundamental rights having been rendered non-justiciable, he then had all his political opponents arrested. They were held in various jails until released by Ziaul Haq four years later.
Not satisfied with the notification, Bhutto had his Constitution amended seven times between its promulgation on August 14, 1973, and July 5, 1977, the date of his fall from grace.
An amendment of a constitution is an extraordinary measure necessitating a great deal of deliberation on the part of the ruling party, consultation with the opposition, and a careful objective study of public opinion on the subject. Its passage through the legislature must be deliberately regulated to ensure full discussion, to provide ample opportunity for criticism.
According to the rules of procedure which govern parliamentary procedure under the 1973 Constitution, a bill, other than a finance bill, on its introduction in the house must be referred to the relevant standing committee, unless the requirements of the rules have been dispensed with by the House through a motion of the relevant member. The standing committee is asked to present its report within 30 days. When this is received, copies of the bill (and any changes recommended by the committee) are to be supplied to each member within seven days. Two clear days must then elapse before the bill can be sent down for consideration.
These rules were suspended by Bhutto for the passage of the Second, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth and Seventh Amendment Bills. The First Amendment Bill was introduced in the house on April 15, 1974. The standing committee presented its report the next day and within a week it was passed leaving no time for debate.
The Third Amendment Bill was introduced on February 11 1975, the required report was presented and the bill passed the next day.
On the killing of terrorist Murtaza Bhutto, Cowasjee wrote another columns on how Murtaza learned such tactics at the feet of his father Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto. From DAWN
By the time he was seventeen, half his country was deliberately lost in order to enable his father, the first ever civilian chief martial law administrator, to become president of what was left. In the years that followed, he swiftly learnt all about betrayals and broken promises, how to use violence, how to subdue, how to eliminate, how to torture, how to cling to power. Sadist Masud Mahmood, chief of his father’s private army, the FSF, was a familiar figure in his life, as was Saeed Ahmed, both of whom were to turn and be the instruments of his father’s execution.
He was around when his father violated his own Constitution, when he then arrested and imprisoned the Baloch chieftains, Sardars and Tumandars, purely for political gain and self-perpetuation. He sat by while young 23-year-old Asad, son of Sardar Ataullah Mengal, was murdered in an ‘encounter’ outside the Karachi house of Tumandar Balakh Sher Mazari (his body was never found), and while the toenails of young Asfandyar, son of Wali Khan, were pulled out one by one (luckily Asfandyar survives to tell the tale), and while Jam Sadiq Ali and Imdadullah Unar did away with Khalifa Faqir Mohammed Amin and six Hurs, and while countless others were murdered in acts of vengeance.
Murtaza knew all about how the keys of the prisons that held Sardars Mengal and Marri, Bizenjo and Wali Khan were thrown away and lost.
This was the real face of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto.
Surprisingly our independent media is totally silent about this aspect of the leak.
U.S. Embassy classified cable dated 22 April 2009
Prepared by: Karachi consul general
US embassy cable – 09KARACHI138
SINDH – THE GANGS OF KARACHI
Origin: Consulate Karachi
Created: 2009-04-22 11:52:00
Classification: Tags: PTER ASEC PGOV PK
CLASSIFIED BY CONSUL GENERAL STEPHEN FAKAN FOR REASONS 1 .4 b and d. 1. (S)
Summary: The police in Karachi are only one of several armed groups in the city, and they are probably not the most numerous or best equipped. Many neighborhoods are considered by the police to be no-go zones in which even the intelligence services have a difficult time operating. Very few of the groups are traditional criminal gangs. Most are associated with a political party, a social movement, or terrorist activity, and their presence in the volatile ethnic mix of the world,s fourth largest city creates enormous political and governance challenges.
MQM (Muttahida Quami Movement)
2. (S) The MQM is an ethnic political party of the Urdu speaking community (known as \”Mohajirs,\” which is Arabic for immigrants) that migrated from India at the time of partition; Mohajirs make up around fifty percent of the total population in Karachi. MQM is middle-class, avowedly secular, and anti-extremist (the only party to publicly protest the recent Swat Nizam-e-Adl regulations). It has a long history of clashes with the Pakistan People,s Party (PPP), which controls the Sindh province in which Karachi is located, and with the Awami National Party (ANP), which represents MQM,s rival ethnic Pashtuns.
3. (S) MQM\’s armed members, known as \”Good Friends,\” are the largest non-governmental armed element in the city. The police estimate MQM has ten thousand active armed members and as many as twenty-five thousand armed fighters in reserve. This is compared to the city\’s thirty-three thousand police officers. The party operates through its 100 Sector Commanders, who take their orders directly from the party leader, Altaf Hussain, who lives in exile in the United Kingdom. The Sector Commanders plan and monitor the activities of the armed elements. MQM\’s detractors claim these armed men are involved in extortion, assassination of political rivals, shootings at campaign rallies, and the murder of people from other ethnic communities.
4. (S) Low to middle-ranked police officials acknowledge the extortion and the likely veracity of the other charges. A senior police officer said, in the past eight years alone, MQM was issued over a million arms licenses, mostly for handguns. Post (Consulate) has observed MQM security personnel carrying numerous shoulder-fired weapons, ranging from new European AKMs to crude AK copies, probably produced in local shops. MQM controls the following neighborhoods in Karachi: Gulberg, Gulshan-e-Iqbal, Korangi, Landhi, Liaquatabad, Malir, Nazimabad, New Karachi, North Nazimabad, Orangi Town, Saddar and Shah Faisal.
MQM-H (Muhajir Quami Movement-Haqiqi)
5. (S) MQM-H is a small ethnic political party that broke away from the MQM in the mid-1980s. MQM-H has its strongholds in the Landhi, Korangi and Lines Area neighborhoods of the city. The MQM regarded these areas as no-go zones when it was in power during the Musharraf presidency. As a condition for joining the Sindh government in 2003, it asked that MQM-H be eliminated. The local police and Rangers were used to crack down on MQM-H, and its leaders were put behind bars. The rank and file of MQM-H found refuge in a local religious/political party, Sunni Tehrik (see para 9). The local police believe MQM-H still maintains its armed groups in the areas of Landhi and Korangi, and that the party will re-organize itself once its leadership is released from jail.
ANP (Awami National Party – Peoples National Party)
6. (S) The ANP represents the ethnic Pashtuns in Karachi. The local Pashtuns do possess personal weapons, following the tribal traditions of the North West Frontier Province (NWFP), and there are indications they have begun to organize formal armed groups. With the onset of combat operations in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas in August 2008, a growing number of Pashtuns fled south to swell the Pashtun ranks of what already is the largest Pashtun city in the world. This has increased tensions between ANP and MQM.
7. (S) If rhetoric of the police and the ANP leadership is to be believed, these armed elements may be preparing to challenge MQM control of Karachi. In March, the Karachi Police Special Branch submitted a report to the Inspector General of Police in which it mentioned the presence of \”hard-line\” Pashtuns in the Sohrab Goth neighborhood. Sohrab Goth is located in the Northeast of the city.
8. (S) The report said this neighborhood was becoming a no-go area for the police. The report went on to claim the Pashtuns are involved in drug trafficking and gun running and if police wanted to move in the area they had to do so in civilian clothing. A senior member of the Intelligence Bureau in Karachi recently opined that the ANP would not move against MQM until the next elections, but the police report ANP gunmen are already fighting MQM gunmen over protection-racket turf.
ST (Sunni Tehrik – Sunni Movement)
9. (S) ST is a small religious/political group with a presence in small pockets of Karachi. The group has only managed to win a handful of council seats in local elections but militarily it is disproportionably powerful because of the influx of MQM-H gunmen after the government crack-down on MQM-H (see above). ST has organized the party and its gunmen along the lines of MQM by dividing its areas of influence into sectors and units, with sector and unit commanders. ST and MQM have allegedly been killing each other\’s leadership since the April 2006 Nishtar Park bombing that killed most of ST\’s leadership. ST blames MQM for the attack. There appears to have been a reduction in these targeted killings since 2008.
PPP (Pakistan People\’s Party)
10. (S) PPP is a political party led by, and centered on the Bhutto family. The party enjoys significant support in Karachi, especially among the Sindhi and Baloch populations. Traditionally, the party has not run an armed wing, but the workers of the PPP do possess weapons, both licensed and unlicensed. With PPP in control of the provincial government and having an influential member in place as the Home Minister, a large number of weapons permits are currently being issued to PPP workers. A police official recently told Post that he believes, given the volume of weapons permits being issued to PPP members, the party will soon be as well-armed as MQM.
Gangs in Lyari: Arshad Pappoo (AP) and Rahman Dakait (RD)
11. (S) AP and RD are two traditional criminal gangs that have been fighting each other since the turn of the century in the Lyari district of Karachi. Both gangs gave their political support to PPP in the parliamentary elections. The gangs got their start with drug trafficking in Lyari and later included the more serious crimes of kidnapping and robbery in other parts of Karachi. (Comment: Kidnapping is such a problem in the city that the Home Secretary once asked Post for small tracking devices that could be planted under the skin of upper-class citizens and a satellite to track the devices if they were kidnapped. End comment.)
12. (S) Each group has only about 200 hard-core armed fighters but, according to police, various people in Lyari have around 6,000 handguns, which are duly authorized through valid weapons permits. In addition, the gangs are in possession of a large number of unlicensed AK-47 rifles, Rocket Propelled Grenade launchers and hand grenades. The weapons are carried openly and used against each other as well as any police or Rangers who enter the area during security operations. During police incursions, the gang members maintain the tactical advantage by using the narrow streets and interconnected houses. There are some parts of Lyari that are inaccessible to law enforcement agencies.
13. (S) A Senior IB officer recently opined to Post that \”All Pashtuns in Karachi are not Taliban, but all Taliban are Pashtuns.\” The size, scope and nature of \”Talibanization\” and true Taliban terrorist activity in Karachi is difficult to pin down, but Post has increasingly received anecdotes about women, even in more upscale neighborhoods, being accosted by bearded strangers and told to wear headscarves in public.
14. (S) There has not been a terrorist attack against U.S. interests in Karachi since 2006. There are several theories about Taliban activity in Karachi and why they have not staged an attack in so long. One school of thought has it that MQM is too powerful and will not allow the Pashtuns to operate in Karachi, and this, combined with the ease of operating elsewhere in Pakistan, makes Karachi an undesirable venue. Another line of thinking claims Karachi is too valuable as a hiding place and place to raise money.
15. (S) In April, the police in Karachi arrested Badshah Din Mahsud, from their Most Wanted Terrorist list, known as the Red Book. It is alleged he was robbing banks in Karachi at the behest of Baitullah Mehsud, from the NWFP, and the money was being used to finance terrorist activity. There is a large body of threat reporting which would seem to indicate the equipment and personnel for carrying out attacks are currently in place in Karachi. In April, Karachi CID told Post they had arrested five men from NWFP who were building VBIEDs and planed to use them in attacks against Pakistani government buildings; including the CID office located behind the US Consulate. CID also claimed they had reliable information that suicide vests had been brought to Karachi.
16. (S) Comment: The importance of maintaining stability in Karachi cannot be over-emphasized. Traditionally, Karachi was at the center of lawlessness, criminal activity, and politically-inspired violence in Pakistan. But with the security situation in the rest of the country deteriorating, the megalopolis has become something of an island of stability. Nevertheless, it still has a number of well-armed political and religious factions and the potential to explode into violent ethnic and religious conflict given the wrong circumstances.
17. (S) The PPP,s decision to include MQM in coalition governments in Sindh Province and in the federal government has helped preclude a return to the PPP-MQM violence of the 1990,s. But the potential for MQM-ANP conflict is growing as Pashtuns challenge Mohajir political dominance and vie for control of key economic interests, such as the lucrative trucking industry. Any sign that political violence is returning to Karachi, especially if it is related to the growing strength of conservative Pashtun \”Taliban,\” will send extremely negative shockwaves through the society and likely accelerate the flight from Pakistan of the business and intellectual elite of the society. End comment. FAKAN
Though the act of killing Salman Taseer is deplorable and should be condemned in strongest words but one should not be surprised that he was taken out. His party which despite being in power does not care about bringing to justice the killers of its leader Benazir Bhutto (not carrying out post-mortem, delaying the investigation, not releasing the reports etc.) presents its members as an easy target because everyone knows that they are so morally bankrupt that death of their members is an opportunity to garner sympathy votes and a few more seats in the parliament. May be next time Zardari can also take a picture of Salman Taseer along with Benazir Bhutto when he makes an address to UN.
Had such a statement been uttered by an MQM leader, the would-be killer would have thought twice before attacking because not only he would have been taken out by MQM whenever given a chance but they might also take out his whole family or even his clan.
This is a straight forward case of murder / an act of terrorism. If the government read PPP is really serious about sending out a message, get him sentenced to death and executed through the courts. We have introduced with gusto anti-terrorism courts, in-camera hearings; get him through those and send out a message to the masses.
Only time will tell how PPP/government handles this situation.
The Interior Minister, Rehman Malik, went as far as to say he would shoot any blasphemer himself.
I have been an ardent supporter of democracy to the extent that I am even supporting the present democratic setup. I believe unless the system runs it course the garbage will not be sifted, the politicians will not learn to pay for their mistakes through the ballot box and we will not get new leadership that pays attention to its constituencies.
But the present leadership through it actions as well as constant streams of bullshit from its mouth sometimes makes me question my beliefs but more than that my sanity. This government has turned out to be the stupidest and dumbest in the history of Pakistan. Had I been a conspiracy theorist I would say that they are acting this way to achieve some ulterior objective which is so ghastly that it confounds me. How can any one be so dumb?
1. Despite the statement by David Cameron, Zardari takes a foreign trip to France and UK. I would really like to know from an insider what was he REALLY doing there. It was a personal trip at national exchequer where he even meets Sarkozy. It may have had something to do with the submarine kickback case in France in which Sarkozy is being investigated for using the kickback proceeds to finance presidential campaign of his predecessor. If it was a foreign policy trip, why was son and daughters accompanying him in casual wear. In the videos showing his arrival on airports, why isn’t he afforded official protocol?
2. In Wall Street Journal, US officials say that they really had to push on Zardari to go back otherwise he felt no compulsion to go back to spearhead the flood crisis. True he is not the Chief Executive after the 18th amendment. But what could be more important to be with your country men, who elected you President, in this time of crisis?
3. When a foreign policy trip is planned, the foreign minister goes along. But if he remains behind, he should at least be able to tell the nation what is so important during flooding that the president had to leave without him. So where was the foreign minister and what did he say? He was at a fashion show (like the Karachi Fashion Week last year was the proverbial middle finger to Talibans _ I am paraphrasing the organizer and participants but this is what they said_ this fashion show would have been the finger to floods) and what does the dumbass say when people ask him about floods and Zardari trip : this is not the place to ask such questions. Please approach the foreign office.
4. GEO TV which was out in full force blaming Zardari for taking a trip during the national crisis, what was it showing during that time? Nadia Khan hosting a fashion model talent show finale for four hours. Thats what I can kettle calling the pot black.
5. We all know that the magnitude of this disaster is huge. Army and civilians and NGOs are trying their best to reach everyone but its difficult in the wide area to reach all of them. Hence, the religious charities are helping people wherever they can and reaching out to them. Even Musharraf was smart enough not to ban charities despite immense US pressure after earthquake as he knew that the charities were doing huge humanitarian and relief work. However, our interior minister says today that such charities will not be allowed to work and people working for them will be arrested. People are dying of aid not reaching them and we need each and every bit of help we can get. Save lives now and worry about the propaganda of charities later.
6. We were worried that world does not trust you, that we will misuse aid. Gilani is on record saying that we will give record of each penny of aid last week, (most humiliating statement a Prime Minister of a country can give in times of crisis). The opposition reaches out to the government and says that if the people are not giving aid to government doubting its credibility lets make a transparent commission so that people trust us. PM agrees to it and makes an announcement. Yesterday he goes back on his words as according to DAWN they are making a different committee as implementing the agreed upon commission would be construed as accepting opposition’s advice. So they make something called NDMC with the same usual culprits which the people have shown distrust in. Is this the time to play such politics?
Not a big fan of Shahbaz Sharif (a dictator in democratic clothing) but he has since stopped making statements (which were raising controversies) and is focused on relief work in his province. I hope that PPP leadership takes a leaf out of his book but then their coteries would advise against it as it would be following the opposition.
So my question again? How dumb can one party collectively be? Isn’t there a single sane person in PPP?
In her book Shock Doctrine, Naomi Klein describes disaster capitalism as politics of using disasters (shocks) to push through unpopular decisions without any opposition. I had earlier written a post on this topic. If she studies Pakistani politics of last ten years, she can write another book on politics of terrorism and financial aid.
In the news yesterday, Pakistan’s ambassador to United Nations stated that if the world does not come forward to help Pakistani’s (read dole out more money and financial aid) in need due to flooding and havoc created by Monsoon rains, it could lead to increase in terrorism.
Don’t we ever get tired of milking the “terrorism” cow? It is surprising that it is almost ten years since Musharraf started milking the cow by his double game after 9/11 and the cow still has not gone dry.
When the Kashmir was hit by the devastating earthquake, the government machinery was found incapable to do anything. Jamat ud Dawa (JoD) were the first ones on the ground. With their jihadist training and rugged terrain experience, they were able to provide relief to areas where no one else could go.
……it [JoD] was certainly making its name heard across the line of control doing earthquake relief – better indeed than the Pakistani army. Where the army could move supplies into the mountainous region only by helicopter, the militants were already there. These hardy guerrilla fighters, experienced at operating in the mountains, cleared their own dead then went to help in the earthquake relief: “only the Mujahideen are helping, from Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jamaat ud-Dawa…One hour after the quake, they were here. The army only came on the fourth day.”—-openDemocracy
They were followed by MQM and Jamat-e-Islami. These three are persona non grata: JoD because they are jihadis (read terrorists), MQM because of their ethnic based politics and JI for bringing religion into politics.
At that time, there were concerns that Jamat ud Dawa’s relief work in earthquake affected area would serve as big recruiting opportunity for Jihadis (not because of their hardline preaching but due to extensice welfare activities carried out by them). There was a lot of pressure on Musharraf from US at the time to impose a ban on Jamat ud Dawa. Despite himself wanting to do so but fearing the repercussions from public for stopping welfare activities when they were mostly needed and not having the infrastructure nor resources to take over the extensive relief network of JoD, he didn’t do it. I don’t know whether JoD recruited anyone but they did developed a lot of goodwill (in modern parlance, they won the hearts and minds of local people).
MQM which is mainly a urban Sind based party also made inroads into the heart of people through their welfare activities. It was said at the time that if elections were held in those areas, MQM could easily sweep them whereas winning even a single seat was deemed impossible earlier. It was rather unfortunate that MQM sacrificed all its goodwill just to please Musharraf in May 12 massacre. It was large price to pay for a useless cause. Hence, the two islamists earned the lasting goodwill by their relief work in that disaster.
The government has started crying “terrorists” to squeeze more money out of US. Most of Pakistan army is busy fighting a war with Talibans, it leaves little of them to help out in relief work. The civilian aid agencies are ill equipped and ill trained to solve such a catastrophe. Hence the Jihadis, who can endure hardships for long time, live on the rugged terrain and have proven their resilience by fighting US and Pakistani forces without comparable resources, will come forward to help the people in need. Who knows, may be the government itself may ask these organizations to help as the disaster has been huge. Though we will be asking US and the world for aid, the final delivery will be done by these jihadis and they will earn the goodwill of the people whether US and rest of the world likes it or not.
From NYTimes quoting DAWN’s Huma Yusuf
Tragedies such as those Pakistanis have borne in the past few days — the plane crash and the ravaging floods — provide governments with the opportunity to demonstrate their capacity for governance. The failure to do so breeds conditions that allow extremism to thrive.
The mantra that good governance is the best antidote to extremism seems cliched. But it bears repeating in Pakistan, where the authorities have proved incapable of learning from history. Few can forget that five years ago, in the wake of the October 2005 earthquake, the government’s failure to cope with immediate relief efforts created a vacuum within which Jamat-ud-Dawa pulled off its greatest publicity stunt.
The extremist organization had the most efficient response teams on the ground, and boasted the most functional and well-stocked relief camps. Its mobile X-ray machines and operating theaters made international headlines. Through their clever use of mobile technology, the group’s volunteers established an unparalleled communications infrastructure that facilitated relief work.
The government and army, meanwhile, fumbled in early relief and reconstruction efforts, as charges of corruption in the distribution of aid and resources were rampant. The consequences of Jamat-ud-Dawa stepping in where the government should have been exercising its authority are obvious today in the support and influence that the organization enjoys.
I am not praising these organizations. I am just pointing out the fact no matter how hard we try, due to our lack of training, equipment, infrastructure, resources, manpower etc, we leave a be a vacuum for these terrorist organizations to fill.
You might wonder, where are the politicians? They are busy in their blame game. Shahbaz Sharif is requesting Zardari to stay home and be there for the people in this tough time. Babar Awan is saying that this IS the time for Zardari to go abroad and raise funds (he should call it begging). Qaim Ali Shah (Sind Chief Minister) is saying that normally Punjab makes Sind beg for every drop of water yet now they have opened floodgates thus drowning Sind. Meanwhile neither the military nor civilians nor the media is highlighting or interested in the plight of Balochis and then we wonder why Balochis are fighting for secession.
Aloof and regardless of what is going on in the rest of country, MQM, PPP and ANP (this is the ruling coalition in Sind) are busy settling score through daily killings in Karachi with 14 killed in just two days.
As a nation, we haven’t fared well either. Till day before yesterday we had ignored all the flood victims.
The pakistan flag was at half-mast on the first day to honour more than 150people who died in an air crash in Islamabad. It should rightly have remained at half-mast as more than twice as many died in monsoon rains. But the rich die in air crashes; the poor perish in monsoon rains. Flags rarely flutter at half‑mast for the poor. —- Guardian correspondent David Hopp
A good analysis of the same topic on five rupees:
The role of class in covering national tragedies or why aren’t the floods in KP getting attention
UPDATE: Christian Science Monitor reports on Jamat ud Dawa helping in flooded areas:
At the JuD aid “camp” on the main road east out of Charsadda, huge pots, used to cook on an industrial scale, were lined up, and the cooked food already had been distributed to the needy. An ambulance, no longer needed to ferry the injured, was being loaded with bundles of second-hand clothing to be given away. JuD also was running a first aid clinic in a building in town belonging to a college, the group said.
The group is operating under the name of Falah-e-Insaniyat but has made little effort to disguise that it’s JuD. Its staff said that it had 2,000 members working for flood relief, across the northwest and south into Punjab province. The uniform vests worn by many of the volunteers bear the badges of both JuD and Falah-e-Insaniyat.
“If the government were doing this work, there would be no need for us,” said Hajji Makbool Shah, a 55-year-old volunteer at the aid camp. “When the floods came, we carried people out on our shoulders to our own ambulances. Where were the government ambulances?”