A Short Trip to Nathia Gali (3 of 3)

  Sitting in the veranda of the lawn of my hotel room, I viewed the thick, beautiful jungle of hundred years old pines, cedars & oak trees.
It was the perfect time and place to enjoy the beauty of the nature, different types of birds especially large size cravens and lot other mountain birds cawing/chirping/singing their typical songs all the time. Monkeys doing their usual acrobatics in nature, all what makes you and your spirits refreshed like anything.



by Nayyar Hashmey


We got up in the morning quite refreshed, refreshed this time becoz we spent our night in a quite normal, comfortable room with warm water available for a normal bath, and this time we decided also to try the in-house complimentary breakfast. To our good fortune the breakfast at the Hotel was not only fresh, warm and to our liking but also was very very tasty too. Weather was fine and back at our room, we enjoyed the continuous hide and seek between  the clouds, the rain fall and the clouds turning into a mist that used to start dancing on the lawns and veranda of our room.

Since clouds come often on roads, room lawns, hotels, & play grounds in Nathia Gali, the town has rightly earned itself the name The Mist City of Pakistan.





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All of a sudden, the clouds disappeared and a bright, pleasantly cool sunlight appeared. Right then monkeys came up on the branches of thick pine trees, from pines they jumped to the loose but sturdy shoots of the old, seasoned cedars and then to a room that was next to ours.

The forests in Nathia Gali have centuries  old pines, cedars, walnuts, also oak and maple trees, whereupon we could easily watch the whole tamasha on a variety of these forest trees all on their own and that too for free.



You will get to see monkeys on the roadside on your way from Nathia Gali-Murree to Islamabad, especially so when you pass over Nathia Gali Muree stretch of Islamabad Murree Express way, when you frequently spot monkeys on the way.
Here these three monkeys are basking in the sun, sitting leisurely on a roadside barrier. At the same time, as you spot them, they spot you. The typical monkey way of life.


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Now one of them is scratching the body of the other one for catching the lice or then they would start a friendly quarrel between two of them. Later some more would come and join in this friendly match. Together all of them bite at one another and then together all will jump in happiness.  From cedar they would jump on the tinned roof of the hotel room just next to ours.

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Me, with my sweetheart babe Hira (my daughter) in the façade of our hotel in Nathia Gali.


And now with my better half in the veranda of Restaurant at the Hotel in Nathia Gali.

It was a wholesome retreat to watch these monkeys in the open, jumping now from one twig to another twig of a pine, then from pine, a long jump to the cedar, and from the cedar, would jump altogether in such a rhythm, in complete sync with the beautiful cloud hovering on them and us, with light, cool and pleasant rain drops falling, on them as well as on us. Their jumping in to and fro, created a beautiful symphony when they started banging simultaneously on the tinned roof.

We watched as we enjoyed this drama in nature, each episode unfolding right before us in turn by turn, for about an hour or so. It was then that we decided that we should better leave for home. So we transferred our belongings from the hotel room to the car. The ever-ready Latif, our driver, was there to help us in moving the things at a quicker pace. We then handed over the keys to the hotel reception, cleared our dues and said them good bye.


I don’t know why Hira made a pose like this. May be the sun had become too bright and she needed sunglasses.


On our way back, we frequently came across colorful dupattas (the ones here though are in black & white) and chadors spread on a hanging line. Their varied colors offer another beauty to the colorful landscape that we pass, while travelling on the Nathia Gali-Murree Islamabad-Highway.


Rain and sun umbrellas in varied colors especially for the ladies, offer a rainbow of colors with a background that is a combination of mountain wall, misty environment and light sun passing through the mist – a beautiful panorama of colours travelling all along us while we drive on the Galyat Road.

Frankly speaking, we did not want to leave becoz of the comfortable room, the professional hospitality of the Hotel staff but since out first night at UOP rest house in Bara Gali was quite disturbing, therefore, we decided to leave for home this time and revisit our beautiful Nathia Gali in September once again.


On our way back to Murree and Islamabad, we came across this corn seller, who was scalding the corn on cob in hot roasting sand. The fresh cob from the mountain areas that has fairly white color than the yellow one we have in the plains of the Punjab, being from heirloom seeds, is fresh and raw and has a unique taste of its own.

While we were on our way, coming back from Nathia Gali, we came across many lorries, mini vans and wagons, all loaded with our Pashtun brethren, young and old, men and women, all tightly packed with their Tiffins, hot boxes, big kettles carrying rice, meat curries, typical KPK dishes already made in rich fat, meat and spices, In the background the CD recorders blaring with Pashtu songs, many of the riders singing in rhyme with music on the disc, were going upwards towards Nathia Gali/Abbotabad/Thandiani.

Some will stop alongside the road and start a Pashtun dance in tune with the music on the disc. Then others will stop their vehicle on the road side, stretch out a big long sheet, a dastarkhan (the name is used not only in Pakistan but also all over Central Asia to the traditional space where food is eaten).



The term Dastarkhan usually refers to the tablecloth which is spread on the ground, floor, or on table and is used as a sanitary surface for food, but it is also used more broadly to refer to the entire meal setting.

It is part of traditional Central Asian cuisine. The term was introduced in South Asia by Turks and conquerors from Central Asia. Dastarkhan is a Persian word meaning “tablecloth” or “great spread”.

The food placed on a dastarkhan ranged from simple tea and bread (for small meals shared by each family) to various salads, nuts, candies, shorba, and meat set out for a picnic on the mountains. In this regard I found the Pashtuns of Pakistan much more livelier than us Punjabis, who do such things on harvests & birth/death anniversaries of saints only.


Previous:  A Short Trip to Nathia Gali (2 of 3)



title image, image 1 to 6 by Hira Hashmey except 7, from 8 to 18 by Hira hashmey, 19, 20
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A short trip to Nathia Gali (2 of 3)


While sitting in the veranda of our hut style room at the Nathia Gali Hotel, we watched and enjoyed the monkeys doing all their natural jumping, howling, playing together, doing their usual household chores (prime being catching lice in the hair of their skins or their kins) in nature.




by Nayyar Hashmey


After having strolled twice on the Mall, I went to sip a cup of tea at the Marhaba Hotel Murree. But alas, the quality of the tea they serve now, in contrast to what they used to offer in the past, was no more there. What they offer now, is just the ordinary tasteless tea. I could not finish even a quarter of the cup & left it there. Then sitting in the open courtyard of Marhaba.I started watching people on the Mall.

My wife and daughter went to a nearby market where they sell woollies. They bought two or three warm shawls from there and after an hour or two were back to Marhaba.  From there, we then walked to the Kashmir Point where our car was parked. Our driver, Abdul Latif, a former retired jawan of the Pak Army had served long time after retirement with one of our family friends, Brig (Retd.) Usman Khan Tararr.

After the demise of Brig Tararr, Latif started working with his wife, our Apa Aliya Usman Tararr, who runs many charity projects for poor & destitute women in her village Kohlu Tararr as well as adjoining villages.

Later Latif left service with the Tararrs due to his family obligations. Latif appeared to be quite adept in driving in the mountainous areas and was familiar with all such hill spots in the north of Pakistan.

We came back to our car, with Latif on the driving seat. Passed through Kuldana, Barian/Sawar Gali , Jhika Gali, Changla Gali, Kooza Gali, Dunga Gali, Khaira Gali,Nathia Gali,Kala Bagh & finally to Bara Gali where the rest house of Peshawar University Summer Camp was located.

But look, what a disappointment was waiting for us. The rooms were quite dirty, the bathroom had the blackish green layer of the algae which had covered almost half the bath room wall, the knob that pushed the water tank over the commode was broken so there was no way how to flush the refuse from the commode.


Though the UOP Summer Camp at Bara Gali (where the university’s rest house stands) was at a very picturesque location, surrounded by thick, dense jungle, the building itself is a remnant of British Raj.
The British had a small cantonment here which was occupied in the hot summer months by one of the British mountain batteries that were stationed in Rawalpindi.
The buildings were constructed like small mountain type huts in 1907 and seem to have been kept at the poor quality of living that still dates back to 1907. (This picture was originally uploaded and shared by user Zafar Hayat Khan, Habib Khel on panoramio.com).

To our misery, there was no warm water in the bath room either, so there was no question of either doing the wuzoo or a bath in such ice cold water. But qahr-e-derwesh ber jan-e-derwesh, we had no other choice. The room was smelly as well. When we told the rest house keeper, he said janab it’s a university rest house, the budget we get from the authorities is that of maintaining a jhuggi (a shanty) and you are expecting 4-star facilities from us. Any way, we told him that we will be back after having our meals.

Off we went to a khaba located in the main bazaar of Nathia Gali for chicken sajji. This place was known to us since 2011 when we came all the way from Islamabad via Abbotabad to Nathia Gali to taste this famous sajji dish in Nathia Gali. My youngest son Usama was then in the driving seat. (He is living nowadays in Sydney, Australia).


A common scene of Nathia Gali Main Bazar, where we took our breakfast. This picture is being displayed here according to Panaramio Copyright Policies.

Usama by the way is also very fond of exploring new cities, new towns and new khabas (eateries). It was he who explored this eating den for us, so on we went to this place. The quality standard of the sajji was same as before and we took the sajji to our heart’s content. Fresh baked rotis were coming from the tandoor and sajji with dahi raita was there too.

After taking our dinner with chick sajji, we went for a stroll in the bazaar and later moved around in our car to see some prominent places in Nathia Gali. It was getting dark by this time, so we moved back to the rest house. To our utter shock and amazement; the room had been delivered to some other family.

We didn’t want to disturb the family who had wrongly been allotted our room to them because of perhaps the lust for more money. On our strong protestation, the rest house keeper agreed to move the family to another room and we almost made ourselves settled into the smelly, dingy room.

The whole procedure was so annoying that we decided, now we’ll spend the night and move early in the morning for Islamabad..So the next morning, we took breakfast at an ordinary type of cheap shop. We wanted to breakfast at an eatery which was famous for their halwa poorhi, but to our dismay, it was fully occupied and there was no place to sit anywhere there.

We didn’t want to breakfast at the shop where we did,  becoz it was of poor standard but since all good dining places were fully occupied, therefore, we took breakfast at that very very ordinary shop. They were serving parathas and egg omelet which was of very ordinary taste but the bill they charged from us was quite heavy.

Anyway, we took the breakfast and before leaving for Islamabad, decided to check the hotels/rest house or a guest house that will be of some chajj for us. (Word “chajj” basically is a Punjabi word and means a place which suits one’s needs). Meanwhile, just an idea flashed into my mind. I told my wife and daughter Hira, why not to try Hotel Green where we used to stay in the bygone days.


This is the room (a mountain style hut) at the Hotel where we were sitting, watching the monkeys playing on this lawn & on the roof of a room next to ours.

Both agreed with me and we started asking people where was the old British era Hotel. They said that the Hotel has been sold to some other party and now it is being run under different names. I Inquired about the old one and they directed us to drive upward on a hill. So, on we went to the old Hotel Green .

Next: A Short Trip to Nathia Gali (3 of 3)

Previous:  A Short Trip to Nathia Gali (1 of 3)




title Image, by Hira Hashmey image at bottom
We at Wonders of Pakistan uses copyrighted material the use of which may not have always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We make such material available to our readers under the provisions of “fair use” only. If you wish to use copyrighted material for purposes other than “fair use” you must request permission from the copyright owner.

A Short Trip to Nathia Gali (1 of 3)


Trees speak the language of the flowers and understand the whispers of the wind.
They’re in tune with the subtle songs of the forest;
They can listen, speak, and interpret the chatter of the rivers and intuit the meaning of each sparkle of the sun.
They don’t have to be told to look for the   magic in life, They can see it, feel it, and taste its sweetness everywhere.
Our job isn’t to correct it, but to nurture it, to preserve it, and perhaps even to re-learn it.
(Christen Rogers)



by Nayyar Hashmey


O bring me a leaf from the Old Forests,  The forests of beauty and song;

Where the galyat, through woods and fair meadows  Doth lead their sweet waters along

O bring me a leaf from the Old Forests,  A tuft from the glossy black pine;

A leaf from the oak and high Cedar tree  And a branch of green holly combine.

O bring me a leaf from the Old Forests,

     A token so sacred, O bring;

‘Twill recall those bright scenes to remembrance,

     Old friendships around it will cling.

 (Originally composed by John D. Cossar has slightly been moderated to adapt to the context to my narrative on Nathia Gali and other small villages/towns called Galyat).

         This poem makes me wander in my memory lane whenever I recollect my visits to the Galyat region in the bygone days of my youth.

     Galyat region, or hill tract, is a narrow strip or area roughly 50–80 km north-east of Islamabad, extending on both sides of the PunjabKhyber Pakhtunkhwa border, between Murree Abbottabad.

     The word is derived from the plural of the Urdu/Punjabi  word gali, which in hilly regions of Murree area means an alley between two mountains on both sides of which there are valleys which may or may not the highest point in the range.

     Ethnically its a homogeneous region where mostly people speak the paharri (hilly area) version of Punjabi. Many call it Hindko, others call it Paharri, Potohari or a version of Punjabi. There are some scattered areas, villages and hamlets in the Hazara districts where Pashtu is also spoken along with Punjabi/Hindko/Paharri.

     Geographically only three are in the Punjab that is:

  1. Darya Gali  2. Jhika Gali 3. Ghora Gali

whereas all the rest 14 are in the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-PK) province of Pakistan.

  1. Ayubia 2. Bara Gali 3. Changla Gali 4. Kooza Gali 5. Dunga Gali 6. Khaira Gali 7. Khanspur 8.  Nathia Gali 9.  Kala Bagh 10. Thandiani 11.  Toheed Abad 12. Dagri Naka 13.  Bagnotar 14.  Namli Maira

     It was Eid-ul-fitr which I celebrated with the usual routine, offered Eid prayer at our sector B mosque called the Rafi Mosque. Prayer was held at 7:15 in the morning


Rafi Mosque in Sector B, Phase VIII of Bahria Town, where this scribe offered Eid Prayer.

     Later, having my breakfast with usual sawayyan (vermicelli) cooked with ghee, sugar & milk, by lunch time, different friends started coming in to say hello with their Eid greetings. In the evening it was my duty likewise, to visit such friends who could not come due to one reason or the other. (Eid celebrations are anyway mostly a family affair).

     So it was just the next day after Eid (the 27th of June 2017) that we usually call in our rustic Punjabi “Turoo” that’s the day Eid is leaving us. (The word Turoo comes from Tur jana i.e. gone away). The third day of Eid is likewise called Muroo, that’s leaving off permanently.

      So, it was on Turoo day of Eid that we left early in the morning and the road journey became increasingly pleasant as we drove out of Islamabad, crossed Chhattar and Salgiran and then to Tret Bangla.

     I couldn’t help but notice the number of bikers heading towards the hills – most of them on locally assembled Chinese or Japanese versions. This rekindled another yearning, to own one of them, the usual specimen of our biking history. But at the senior age that I’m, such a wish remains a wish and to that comes also my dislike for the two wheelers.

     With such an adventurous machine that a motor bike is, my fascination is that of hate & love. I love it when I see young people riding on their motor bikes, all in a jolly mood, biking smoothly on the up hills sometime & downhill another time, but then that hate comes up from my youth days when I used to travel to the Institute of Textile Technology in the then Lyallpur on my two wheeler i.e. a Vespa scooter.

     Although this two wheeler in those days was a love machine of the youth, a rage by the young of the college and the university especially when the famous Hollywood movie Come September, came on our Pakistani cinema screens.


Rock Hudson with Gina Lolobrigida in Hollywood movie of the 1960’s “Come September”.

     Watching movies in those days, was the prime source of entertainment for in those days one could not think of modern day gadgets such as laptops, smart phones, 24/7 running cable TV channels, home theaters and such similar stuffs. If somebody would ever had talked about it, the poor chap surely would surely have been dubbed as insane.

     Every day when I used to drive about 9 or 10 kilometers from my home to Manawala village where the institute was located, I used to come across all the dirt, mosquitoes, flies and small pebbles falling like small bullets on my face. Whenever a lorry or a truck passed along the road moving parallel to me, throwing all such nasty stuffs on me, ever since then I lost my love for the two wheelers.

     But sometime when I see the youth plying on their bikes running in a zoom, I do envy them.


     As we drove up from Salgiran, weather became cooler and our husband-wife skirmishes turned into smiles. This was the usual, full of thrill drive in the hills and the twists and turns on the road gave the hilarity of an F1 racer. I know people would say that road to Murree is not ‘that hard’ but for us, people of the plains, it is always a memorable experience.

     The blue cover and shroud of white greyish mist took my breath away; the serpent-like road was another attraction and it was hard to keep my eyes off from the beauty all around.

     It was also a time to do the mandatory shooting, some stills & a few videos, done by Hira (my daughter) and the scenic locales allowed us to take plenty.


     As I stood on the side of the road and soaked everything in, the hills appeared sage-like, wanting to tell me about the deeper purposes of life. The depth of the valley appeared to be teaching about how to absorb the shocks of life.

     On — we moved forward to Tret. Tret used to be a small hamlet in the past, a beautiful waterfall was always there, and a big pipal or some similar tree hovering almost on that part of the road. But now Tret too is large and a fairly polluted town.

     In my student days, reaching Tret meant that we are approaching Murree, as weather started getting cooler by every mile we trekked on a lorry or in a car.. But now Tret is fairly warmer than those days, pity the environment getting polluted in these simple, small yet beautiful villages & towns around Murree.


On way to Nathia Gali

     In those days, moving in Murree was impossible without warm clothing but now you frequently see visitors in Murree especially from our Punjab plains in thin, light lawn dresses. Then to think of electric fans was impossible but now you cannot sit in Murree summer without fans.

     Having crossed Tret we moved upwards to Murree and reached there almost in about 25 minutes or so.

     Murree was as usual full of hustle and bustle of peak summer season. Everywhere you could see fellows from all walks of life strolling on the Mall of Murree. The weather was fairly warm, therefore; one could see people in normal light weight cotton wear. Sun was quite hot and this made lot of people to carry umbrellas too.


Next:  A short trip to Nathia Gali (2 of 3)

Title image, Rafi Mosque by Molvi Abdul Rahman, Rock Hudson & Gina Lolobrigida, Last two by Hira Hashmey



We at Wonders of Pakistan use copyrighted material the use of which may not have always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We make such material available to our readers under the provisions of “fair use” only. If you wish to use copyrighted material for purposes other than “fair use” you must request permission from the copyright owner.

Published in: on 14/07/2017 at 1:38 pm  Comments (4)  

Explore the Beauty of Hinduism



A 12 Days Pakistan Hindu Heritage Tour


By WoP ResearchDesk


Bhakti or devotion to God and the gods of Hinduism is an integral part of the Hindu faith. It is an entire realm of knowledge and practice unto itself – ranging from the childlike wonder of the unknown and the mysterious to the deep reverence which comes with understanding of esoteric inter-workings of the three worlds.

Hinduism views existence as composed of three worlds. The First World is the physical universe; the Second World is the subtle astral or mental plane of existence in which the devas, angels and spirits live; and the Third World is the spiritual universe of the Mahadevas, “great shining beings,” the Hindu Gods.

Hinduism is the harmonious working together of these three worlds.

Lord Ganesha is such a being. He can think just as we can think. He can see and understand and make decisions – so vast in their implications and complexity that we could never comprehend them with our human faculties and understanding.

“Great indeed are the gods who have sprung out of Brahman.”
-Atharva Veda

What is a Yatra?

Yatra is self-purification. It increases one’s proximity to the Lord and therefore one is to go on a pilgrimage’. Yatra is an important part of Hindu ritual, and many annual yatras in the subcontinent are part of Hindus’ historical adherence to their faith that has existed since the birth of the human civilization to the present day, when technical superiority has enabled man to enjoy worldly comforts never seen before in history, yet at the same time has engulfed him in confusions, frustration and depressions.

In this ever going tussle between physical comforts and spiritual confusions comes the Hindu concept of yatras that relieves one of the burden of doing bad things and indulging into a world of noble, sublime deeds done in the service of the Supreme Being and its various manifestations.. As per Hindu tradition, it is desirable to perform yatra to various Hindu places. However it is not mandatory and hence yatra belongs to Kamya ritual.

Yatra and its Association with Hindu Scriptures

In the Hindu religion, a pilgrimage site is the one that oozes with spiritual and religious vibrations, special powers, knowledge and even miraculous capacities. In the subcontinent, the confluence of sacred rivers, places linked to Puranic stories like Samudra manthan (churning of the great ocean) and Hindu legends like Mahabharata and Ramayana have now become most visited pilgrimages.   

In many Hindu scriptures like Rigveda (1500 BC) wanderers are tremendously praised. Various other epics of the later age including Mahabharata (300 BC – 300 AD), Puranas (300 BC – 750 AD) and many vernacular scriptures have also mentioned particular sites that grant boons including sound health, wealth, prosperity, progeny, and moksha (salvation). Religious scriptures also guide Hindus to perform the last rites of the deceased kin in a pilgrimage site.   

The Concept of Tirth Yatra

Pilgrimages which are performed collectively in a group are called tirtha yatras. As mentioned in the Hindu Dharma Shastra, a tirth yatra is generally executed bare footed without vehicles or comforts. The concept of tirth yatra is mentioned in many scriptures like Skhanda Purana, Sthala PuranaMaha Bhagavatha, Sri Venkatachala Mahatmiya, Maha Bharatha, Brahma Purana, Matsya Purana, and Brahmanda Purana. 

As mentioned in Sthala Purana, great sages in the ancient days specially used to perform tapas (meditation) and other spiritual activities in these sacred tirth places. Hence, these sites are guided by spiritual forces that can wipe out one’s evil tendencies and take him towards the path gyan (knowledge), bhakti (devotion) and self-realization.

With this scared duty in mind, we offer our Hindu guests our immaculate arrangements to undertake the holy journeys across Pakistan. 

Day 1 Karachi
We meet you on your arrival in Karachi. Transfer to Hotel, Overnight at hotel.

Day 2 Karachi
Next day in the morning, we will begin our tour visiting the Old Shiva temple of Clifton. Then we visit the National Museum of Pakistan learning briefly about the history of the country. Later view the rich Hindu heritage gallery in the museum that houses some of the best and the oldest objects of Hindu religion.

Afternoon is free for shopping, evening dinner outside, overnight at hotel

Day 3 Karachi
Early morning at 6 a.m. will be driving to Las Bela to see the Asthan of Hinglaj Matajee, one of the most important Tirthas in the subcontinent.

Hinglaj is a holy shrine, located about 250km North West of Karachi, on the banks of River Hingol on the Makran coast of Balochistan. The holy site of pilgrimage is situated in a mountain cave “Hinglaj” on river bank of “Hinghol” at the foothills of “Kheerthar” mountains in Lyari district of the Balochistan province.

Hinglaj is one of the famous and biggest “Tirthas” of Indo Pak subcontinent. One reaches there by road via main Karachi – Quetta Highway upto Zero Point for about 75 miles and then by road towards the west via Lyari town and then towards the signal Fauji Camp Stop, crossing Aghore River – passing through Goongi River and then finally stopping at Asha Pura Sarai (inn) worship spots.

The worship spots for Ganesha, Kalika Mata, Guru Gorakh Nath Dooni, Brahma Kundh, Tir Kundh, Gurunanak Kharao, Ramjarokha Bethak, Aneel Kundh located at Chorasi Mountain, Chandra Goop, Khari river and Aghore Pooja are the main pilgrimages (Tirthasthan) for devotees of Mata Hinglaj.

Will return to Karachi late in the evening, overnight at hotel 

Day 4 Hyderabad
Early morning breakfast is at hotel. Drive to Hyderabad via Thatta, en route will visit the Chaukundi necropolis from 15th to 18th century rectangular shaped Muslim graves depicting beautiful geometrical, floral & pictorial designs carved in sandstone. Men’s graves have intricately designed turbans on top and those of ladies have jewelry carved on them.

We shall then visit Banbhore where we will see the temple of Daibal. Banbhore was the first city from where Arabs first entered India. Its also known as the gateway of Islam.

Later will be driving onward to Makli, to watch the famous architecture of the mausoleums, which are similar to the architecture of Fatehpur Sikri. We will also visit a Hindu temple said to be from early 12th century. Later shall visit Shahjehan Mosque built 2 years after Taj Mahal by Shahjehan. Drive back to Hyderabad. Overnight at hotel. 

Day 5 Hyderabad
Full day tour of Hyderabad, visit the famous Pakka Qila and Shahi bazaar and also visit the Museum of Sindhology & Museum of Sindh both of which present excellent ethnological galleries. Overnight at hotel.

Day 6 Larkana
Today we will drive along the west bank of the River Indus to Larkana, en-route we will visit the Shrine of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar and Manchar lake. Overnight at hotel. 

Day 7 Sukkur
Early morning Drive to visit the Moen Jo daro Museum, later visit area rich residential are of Moen Jo daro both sites will be visited. We will then move on to the Archeological Site museum which carries artifacts from the Stone Age to pre-Moen Jo daro culture to peak Moen Jo Daro period. .

Later will be driving to Sukkur where boats will be ready to take us to the island of Sadh Belo in River Indus. The temple is built at the point where Baba Bankhandi,

(a sadhu who left the worldly luxuries and made “Bun” or Jungle his abode). It is said that Mata Sarsawai had appeared here to give her Darshan to the Sadhu and still pays visits.

We will see different aspects of this temple and Hindus can do the rituals. Special permission will be arranged from The Government of Sindh for this. Then visit the Town of Sukkur Overnight at hotel.

Day 8 Multan
Today we will drive to Multan. Arrive in Multan in the evening. Overnight at hotel 

Day 9 Lahore
Early Breakfast at hotel. Drive to Lahore, en route visit Harrppa the sister city of Mohen Jo Daro. Harrappa was excavated in 1911 and a huge mass of artifacts from the Indus civilization was found here. You will see the Harrappa site and museum in detail. Evening Special Dinner at the famous food street in Lahore, Overnight at hotel 

Day 10 Lahore 
Full day tour of Lahore, visit Lahore Fort, witness the Hindu influence on the architecture of Akbar, Visit the Sikh Gallery to see the articles from Raja Ranjeet Singh period and the majestic Badshahi mosque. . Evening Drive to Wahgah to witness the flag ceremony at the Pak-India border. Overnight at hotel 

Day 11 Lahore 
Full day visit & a full day Excursion to Chakwal to see the temple of Katasaraj. Overnight at hotel (Lahore).
Day 12 Airport
Morning drive to Wagah border for journey back into India/air port.

Included in tour package:

  • AC transportation
  • Hotel 
  • Meals (vegetarian)

Package Price per person:

  • Pak Rs. 1, 15,000, 00 (1 lakh & 15 thousand only)
  • Air tickets Lahore–Karachi–Lahore not included.

Related Articles: 

1. I too want to go on Hinglaj  2. Traveling through Pakistan – The Katas Raj Temple 3. KATAS – A Paradise Lost and a Paradise Regained! 4. Hinglaj, the Hindu holy shrine in Hingol, Balochistan

The Great Game- Renewed – I.5

“Tim Osman” was the name assigned to Osama bin Laden by the CIA for his tour of the U.S. and U.S. military bases, in search of political support and armaments. […] There is some evidence that Tim Osman … visited the White House. There is certainty that Tim Osman toured some U.S. military bases, even receiving special demonstrations of the latest equipment. Why hasn’t this been reported in the major media…? The answer is that the US is now obsessed by the Afghan war i.e. operation Geronimo, and therefore the western media too put a blind eye to OBL’s days with the CIA.




by Hassan Rizvi


He allowed a free hand to the CIA approved Wahabi Islamic doctrine to gain a firm foothold in Pakistan. Passing pro-Islamic legislation, he allowed FIB (Faisal Islamic bank) to start Islamic banking systems, and created Islamic courts. Most importantly, he imposed a new religious tax which was used to create tens of thousands of madrassas, or religious boarding schools, where “Islamic text books’ printed in USA and approved by CIA were taught. These schools would be used to train and indoctrinate a large portion of future Islamic militants using courses developed in the USA.

“Radical Islamist ideology began to permeate the military and the influence of the most extreme groups crept into the army,” writes journalist Kathy Gannon in her book ‘I is for Infidel’. The BBC later commented that Zia’s “Islamization” policies created a “culture of jihad” within Pakistan that continues until present day. Meanwhile ISI took over to continue the field work and launched a massive campaign of terrorism, assassinating hundreds of teachers and civil servants in Afghanistan.” (more…)

The Great Game – Renewed – I.4

At its peak, the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI) was the seventh largest private bank in the world. However, during the mid-1980s the bank was reportedly involved in  activities which included money laundering, drug money, and dubious account holders. It is also said that the CIA used accounts at the BCCI to fund the Afghan Mujahideen during their war with the Soviet Union in the 1980s.



by Hassan Rizvi


Adham, and other intelligence heads worked with Abedi to contrive “a plan that seemed too good to be true. The bank (BCCI) would solicit the business of every major intelligence – and therefore terrorist, rebel, and underground – organization in the free world. The intelligence collected – and links forged in the process – would be shared with these ‘friends’ of BCCI.” CIA operative Raymond Close worked closely with Adham during the Congressional inquiry years to help identify and tap “into CIA’s hordes of misfits and malcontents to help man a 1,500-strong group of assassins and enforcers.”

[Right: Late Agha Hassan Abedi, Founder of  the BCCI]

Soon, BCCI became the fastest growing bank in the world. Time magazine would later describe BCCI as not just a bank, but also “a global intelligence operation and a Mafia-like enforcement squad. Operating primarily out of the bank’s offices in Karachi, Pakistan; the 1,500-employee network had used sophisticated spy equipment and techniques, along with bribery, extortion, kidnapping and even, by some accounts, murder. It stops at almost nothing to further the bank’s aims the world over.”

Saudi Prince Mohammed al-Faisal also set up Faisal Islamic Bank of Egypt (FIBE) as part of the banking empire. The “Blind Sheikh,” Sheikh Omar Abdul-Rahman was one of its founding members. Growth of Islamic banking would directly help the growth of the Islamist movements, and allow the Saudis to pressure poorer Islamic nations, like Egypt, to shift their policies to the right. FIBE worked closely with BCCI. Investigators would later find that BCCI held $589 million in “unrecorded deposits,” $245 million of which were placed with FIBE!

BCCI at a later stage was also ‘discovered’ to be deeply implicated in illegal arms and narcotics trade .But all this was to happen way in the future, when CIA wanted to get back into the driving seat! (more…)

The Great Game- Renewed – I.3

The Soviet backed coup in Afghanistan gave birth to Afghan militancy followed by Soviet attempts to destabilize Balochistan. A natural consequence should have been the involvement of the USA and CIA on the Pakistani side in a communistic vs. free world conflict as was the norms of the time; more so as both sides were Muslims. Yet two developments on the inter –national stage were to give it an irretrievable ‘Wahabi’ luster which US supported & this ‘Wahabi’ militancy continues to this day. The first was the vast growth in Saudi wealth due to sharp rise in oil prices. The second was the castration of CIA as a result of post Watergate repercussions!



by Hassan Rizvi


In 1973 Prince Daud staged a Soviet assisted coup to oust King Zahir Shah. The Daud regime not only raised the issue of Pashtunistan (Afghans claims to Pakistani provinces of NWFP and Balochistan), but also for the first time moved the Afghan army closer to the borders. More importantly KHAD the Afghan Intelligence agency (aided and abetted by the Russian KGB and Indian RAW as all three were allied in those days) used several Pakistani tribal leaders (Sardars) to start an uprising in the tribal areas of Balochistan and parts of NWFP.

Z.A. Bhutto’s government retaliated by supporting the disenchanted elements within Afghanistan. These included Burhanuddin Rabbani, Ahmad Shah Masud and Gulbadin Hikmatyar. Thus relations in the 1970s began with each country supporting the other’s dissidents on a purely nationalistic agenda on a quid pro quo basis; and till the mid-70’s Pakistan army was busy fighting a bitter insurgency in the province of Balochistan – with the help of it’s ‘Militants’ within Afghanistan. There was no question of an Islamic Jihadi motivational base for either; as ‘enemies’ of both sides were Muslim. As we shall see this was to come much later when the CIA would conceive the theory of turning ‘Afghan militants’ into ‘Islamic militants’ for use against the ‘USSR’. (more…)

The Great Game – Renewed – I.2

In 1893 the British created the “Durand line” as a buffer between the Czars and the British Empire. After the British departure Kabul refused to recognize Pakistan, challenging the legitimacy of its borders. India jumped in, to encourage Afghan claims – supported by its ally the USSR. Despite the tension in its Frontier province, Pakistan’s founding father Muhammad Ali Jinnah had already pulled out troops from the Pashtun areas, confident that Pakistan had the allegiance of the tribes. Subsequent events were to prove him correct. Aslam Khattak then first secretary and later ambassador in Kabul even started a proposal for a Pakistan-Afghan confederation. Both sides agreed to work for a confederation in which the two regions would be autonomous in all matters, except for defence, foreign policy, foreign trade and communications.



by Hassan Rizvi


             ♦     A Wider Northern By-Pass (Route 3)

Russia has proposed exporting oil north to join its existing pipeline system at Novorossiysk .This development would remove the pipeline further from Chechnya and help maintain regular flow of Caspian Sea and Kazakh oil.

            ♦      The Trans Caucasus Route (Route 4)

The Azerbaijan International Operating Company (AIOC) built an initial line from Baku through Georgia to the Georgian port of Supsa on the Black Sea. It is pumping a limited amount of oil since l999.This is relatively an inexpensive option, but the oil still has to move from Supsa by oil tankers through the Black Sea and the Bosporus. Turkey controls the traffic between the Black and Mediterranean Seas and does not want increased oil tanker traffic through the straits because of environmental concerns. Russia objects to this route because none of the pipeline passes through Russia. Further, this pipeline runs through domains of many fractious mountain tribes. (more…)

The Great Game– Renewed – I.1

Lord Curzon famously stated “who ever controls West Asia, controls the world”. In his view this entailed the exercise of a predominant influence over the destinies of Persia and Afghanistan – a role he reserved for British India.



by Hassan Rizvi


Today we have many nations desperate to acquire that role? NATO and ISAF led by the USA, fighting Al-Qaeda and the Pakhtuns (Taliban). Even Russia and China are not ignoring their strategic interests in the area; and of course the traditional rivals India and Pakistan always ready to fight a proxy war in Afghanistan. This article –and a few others to follow- will look at the issues at stake today – primarily from Pakistan’s point of view. But first an over view of the make up and strategic importance of Central Asia.


Once upon a time not so long ago the world’s biggest Empire possessed unimaginable land, wealth and potential. However, lacking the vision to manage what it possessed; it chose the wrong friends and made the wrong enemies resulting in an inevitable humiliation at the hands of a ‘despicable band of holy warriors’. China which should have been it’s biggest helper lifted not a finger to assist; and India which should have been it’s biggest friend shed not a single tear -in fact jumped on to the opposing band wagon with glee. (more…)

Go! Kiss the World!

Subroto Bagchi, COO, MindTree Consulting

Subroto Bagchi



Address by Subroto Bagchi (a man who was vice- president for Lucent Technologies and Wipro with just a Political science degree from Utkal University) Chief Operating Officer, Mind Tree consulting to the Class of 2006 at the IIM, Bangalore on defining success.

I was the last child of a small-time government servant, in a family of five brothers. My earliest memory of my father is as that of a District Employment Officer in Koraput, Orissa. It was, and remains as back of beyond as you can imagine. There was no electricity; no primary school nearby and water did not flow out of a tap. As a result, I did not go to school until the age of eight; I was home-schooled. My father used to get transferred every year. The family belongings fit into the back of a jeep – so the family moved from place to place and without any trouble, my Mother would set up an establishment and get us going. Raised by a widow who had come as a refugee from the then East Bengal, she was a matriculate when she married my Father.

My parents set the foundation of my life and the value system, which makes me what I am today and largely, defines what success means to me today.

As District Employment Officer, my father was given a jeep by the government. There was no garage in the Office, so the jeep was parked in our house. My father refused to use it to commute to the office. He told us that the jeep is an expensive resource given by the government – he reiterated to us that it was not ”his jeep” but the government’s jeep. Insisting that he would use it only to tour the interiors, he would walk to his office on normal days. He also made sure that we never sat in the government jeep – we could sit in it only when it was stationary.

That was our early childhood lesson in governance – a lesson that corporate managers learn the hard way, some never do.


The driver of the jeep was treated with respect due to any other member of my Father’s office. As small children, we were taught not to call him by his name. We had to use the suffix ‘dada’ whenever we were to refer to him in public or private. When I grew up to own a car and a driver by the name of Raju was appointed – I repeated the lesson to my two small daughters. They have, as a result, grown up to call Raju, ‘Raju Uncle’ – very different from many of their friends who refer to their family driver, as ‘my driver’. When I hear that term from a school- or college-going person, I cringe.

To me, the lesson was significant – you treat small people with more respect than how you treat big people. It is more important to respect your subordinates than your superiors.

Our day used to start with the family huddling around my Mother’s chulha – an earthen fire place she would build at each place of posting where she would cook for the family. There was neither gas, nor electrical stoves.The morning routine started with tea. As the brew was served, Father would ask us to read aloud the editorial page of The Statesman’s ‘muffosil’ edition – delivered one day late. We did not understand much of what we were reading. But the ritual was meant for us to know that the world was larger than Koraput district and the English I speak today, despite having studied in an Oriya medium school, has to do with that routine. After reading the newspaper aloud, we were told to fold it neatly. Father taught us a simple lesson.


“You should leave your newspaper and your toilet, the way you expect to find it”. That lesson was about showing consideration to others. Business begins and ends with that simple precept.

Being small children, we were always enamored with advertisements in the newspaper for transistor radios – we did not have one. We saw other people having radios in their homes and each time there was an advertisement of Philips, Murphy or Bush radios, we would ask Father when we could get one. Each time, my Father would reply that we did not need one because he already had five radios – alluding to his five sons. We also did not have a house of our own and would occasionally ask Father as to when, like others, we would live in our own house. He would give a similar reply,” We do not need a house of our own. I already own five houses”. His replies did not gladden our hearts in that instant.

Nonetheless, we learnt that it is important not to measure personal success and sense of well being through material possessions.

Government houses seldom came with fences. Mother and I collected twigs and built a small fence. After lunch, my Mother would never sleep. She would take her kitchen utensils and with those she and I would dig the rocky, white ant infested surrounding. We planted flowering bushes. The white ants destroyed them. My mother brought ash from her chulha and mixed it in the earth and we planted the seedlings all over again. This time, they bloomed. At that time, my father’s transfer order came. A few neighbors told my mother why she was taking so much pain to beautify a government house, why she was planting seeds that would only benefit the next occupant. My mother replied that it did not matter to her that she would not see the flowers in full bloom. She said, “I have to create a bloom in a desert and whenever I am given a new place, I must leave it more beautiful than what I had inherited”.

That was my first lesson in success. It is not about what you create for yourself, it is what you leave behind that defines success.

My mother began developing a cataract in her eyes when I was very small. At that time, the eldest among my brothers got a teaching job at the University in Bhubaneswar and had to prepare for the civil services examination. So, it was decided that my Mother would move to cook for him and, as her appendage, I had to move too. For the first time in my life I saw electricity in homes and water coming out of a tap. It was around 1965 and the country was going to war with Pakistan. My mother was having problems reading and in any case, being Bengali, she did not know the Oriya script. So, in addition to my daily chores, my job was to read her the local newspaper – end to end. That created in me a sense of connectedness with a larger world. I began taking interest in many different things. While reading out news about the war, I felt that I was fighting the war myself. She and I discussed the daily news and built a bond with the larger universe. In it, we became part of a larger reality. Till date, I measure my success in terms of that sense of larger connectedness.

Meanwhile, the war raged and India was fighting on both fronts. Lal Bahadur Shastri, the then Prime Minster, coined the term “Jai Jawan, Jai Kishan” and galvanized the nation in to patriotic fervor. Other than reading out the newspaper to my mother, I had no clue about how I could be part of the action. So, after reading her the newspaper, every day I would land up near the University’s water tank, which served the community. I would spend hours under it, imagining that there could be spies who would come to poison the water and I had to watch for them. I would daydream about catching one and how the next day, I would be featured in the newspaper. Unfortunately for me, the spies at war ignored the sleepy town of Bhubaneswar and I never got a chance to catch one in action. Yet, that act unlocked my imagination.


If we can imagine a future, we can create it, if we can create that future, others will live in it. That is the essence of success.

Over the next few years, my mother’s eyesight dimmed but in me she created a larger vision, a vision with which I continue to see the world and, I sense, through my eyes, she was seeing too. As the next few years unfolded, her vision deteriorated and she was operated for cataract. I remember, when she returned after her operation and she saw my face clearly for the first time, she was astonished. She said, “Oh my God, I did not know you were so fair”. I remain mighty pleased with that adulation even till date.Within weeks of getting her sight back, she developed a corneal ulcer and, overnight, became blind in both eyes.

That was 1969. She died in 2002.

In all those 32 years of living with blindness, she never complained about her fate even once. Curious to know what she saw with blind eyes, I asked her once if she sees darkness. She replied, “No, I do not see darkness. I only see light even with my eyes closed”.

Until she was eighty years of age, she did her morning yoga everyday, swept her own room and washed her own clothes.


Over the many intervening years, I grew up, studied, joined the industry and began to carve my life’s own journey. I began my life as a clerk in a government office, went on to become a Management Trainee with the DCM group and eventually found my life’s calling with the IT industry when fourth generation computers came to India in 1981. Life took me places – I worked with outstanding people, challenging assignments and traveled all over the world.

In 1992, while I was posted in the US, I learnt that my father, living a retired life with my eldest brother, had suffered a third degree burn injury and was admitted in the Safderjung Hospital in Delhi. I flew back to attend to him – he remained for a few days in critical stage, bandaged from neck to toe. The Safderjung Hospital is a cockroach infested, dirty, inhuman place. The overworked, under-resourced sisters in the burn ward are both victims and perpetrators of dehumanized life at its worst. One morning, while attending to my Father, I realized that the blood bottle was empty and fearing that air would go into his vein, I asked the attending nurse to change it. She bluntly told me to do it myself. In that horrible theater of death, I was in pain and frustration and anger. Finally when she relented and came, my Father opened his eyes and murmured to her, “Why have you not gone home yet?” Here was a man on his deathbed but more concerned about the overworked nurse than his own state. I was stunned at his stoic self.

There I learnt that there is no limit to how concerned you can be for another human being and what the limit of inclusion is you can create. My father died the next day.


Above all, he taught me that success is your ability to rise above your discomfort, whatever may be your current state. You can, if you want, raise your consciousness above your immediate surroundings. Success is not about building material comforts – the transistor that he never could buy or the house that he never owned. His success was about the legacy he left, the memetic continuity of his ideals that grew beyond the smallness of an ill-paid, unrecognized government servant’s world.

My father was a fervent believer in the British Raj. He sincerely doubted the capability of the post-independence Indian political parties to govern the country. To him, the lowering of the Union Jack was a sad event. My Mother was the exact opposite. When Subhash Bose quit the Indian National Congress and came to Dacca, my mother, then a schoolgirl, garlanded him. She learnt to spin khadi and joined an underground movement that trained her in using daggers and swords. Consequently, our household saw diversity in the political outlook of the two. On major issues concerning the world, the Old Man and the Old Lady had differing opinions.


Success is not about the ability to create a definitive dogmatic end state; it is about the unfolding of thought processes, of dialogue and continuum.

Two years back, at the age of eighty-two, Mother had a paralytic stroke and was lying in a government hospital in Bhubaneswar. I flew down from the US where I was serving my second stint, to see her. I spent two weeks with her in the hospital as she remained in a paralytic state. She was neither getting better nor moving on. Eventually I had to return to work.

While leaving her behind, I kissed her face. In that paralytic state and a garbled voice, she said,

“Why are you kissing me, go kiss the world.” Her river was nearing its journey, at the confluence of life and death, this woman who came to India as a refugee, raised by a widowed Mother, no more educated than high school, married to an anonymous government servant whose last salary was Rupees Three Hundred, robbed of her eyesight by fate and crowned by adversity was telling me to go and kiss the world!

Success to me is about Vision. It is the ability to rise above the immediacy of pain. It is about imagination. It is about sensitivity to small people. It is about building inclusion. It is about connectedness to a larger world existence. It is about personal tenacity. It is about giving back more to life than you take out of it. It is about creating extra-ordinary success with ordinary lives.

Thank you very much; I wish you good luck and God’s speed. Go! , kiss the world.


Source: http://thejeshgn.com/
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the ‘Wonders of Pakistan’. The contents of this article too are the sole responsibility of the author(s). WoP will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this post.



Published in: on 28/04/2010 at 11:33 am  Comments (15)  

Israelis or Jews?

Marital happiness depends, sometimes, on the racial purity of the lovers. This is the message that the citizen Baruch Marzel sent to Israeli supermodel Bar Rafaeli, who plans to marry the great Leonardo Di Caprio.

José Steinsleger


Marital happiness depends, sometimes, on the racial purity of the lovers. This is the message that the citizen Baruch Marzel sent to Israeli supermodel Bar Rafaeli, who plans to marry the great Leonardo Di Caprio.  “Not by chance you were born Jewish, he said.”  Does Baruch live among the Taliban of Afghanistan or does he sympathize with Iran’s ayatollahs? Neither one nor the other. Baruch is a Zionist colonist living in the occupied territories of Palestine and serves in the organization Lehava. That, in Christian, means flame, and in the original acronym: To Prevent Assimilation in the Holy Land.

A conclusive proof that the fundamentalist gangsters who rule Israel are pushing the faith of the Jews in a quagmire of confusion, atrocities and violations?

Not by chance you were born Jewish. Lehava strives to provide assistance to Jewish women who maintain relationships with Gentiles (especially when it comes to Arab men) to prevent marriages from being completed. And if couples do not agree, they travel to Cyprus, which has become the Las Vegas of Israel.

[Right: There are about as many Jews in the United States as there are in Israel. And Israel has as yet not declared whether it wants to be a Jewish state in accordance with the columns of filament (the commandments of Jewish religion) or a Western secular democracy].

Sociologist Sara Stricker investigated that between 150 and 200 couples travel monthly to Cyprus from Israel.  Since according to international law, Israel should recognize marriages performed abroad. But, as Striker said, 63 years after the founding of the state, “… Israel has not declared whether it wants to be a Jewish state in accordance with the columns of filament (the commandments of Jewish religion) or a Western secular democracy.”

Zionist propaganda identifies Israel as the most modern and democratic state in the Middle East. But what decisions on the other side of justice are taken into account for personal circumstances? Marriage, divorce or death are treated in Israel in absolutely sectarian terms.

On the other hand, Zionism does not care to explain why modern Israel is also the only one in the Western world in which there are only religious and not civil marriages. Or why not recognize marriages between Jews and Muslims or Christians, or between Jews and atheists?

Israeli law defines a Jew as a person whose mother is Jewish or has converted to Judaism and is not part of another religious community.  And this in spite of the amendment that grants this right to the son and to the grandson of a Jew; to the wife of a Jew; to the wife of the son of a Jew and to the wife of a grandson of a Jew, except to those that having been a Jew and have voluntarily changed religion.

In July 2005, the Knesset (Israeli parliament) decided to grant citizenship to Palestinians married to Israeli citizens, if the men were at least 35 years, and if the women were older than 25.  Good resource for practical purposes. For this way, only children born to Jewish parents are obliged to perform military service for two years, and we’ll see later if they are Jewish enough to marry in Israel.

If a Mexican who lives in Israel is converted to Judaism, they can acquire citizenship at the time of their conversion. But if Mexico (or any other country) regulates that Jews cannot become citizens under the same conditions as others, Zionist experts in ethics, altruism and morality put the signature that it will be seen as a test of anti-Semitism.


Source: Originally published in www.jornada.unam.mx Translated from original Spanish version by: Lisa KARPOVA of PRAVDA.Ru
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the ‘Wonders of Pakistan’. The contents of this article too are the sole responsibility of the author(s). WoP will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this post.



Chechnya: Monster in the Mountains – II

Killed in 2006… Chechen commander Shamil Basayev.



by John Russell


Basayev was finally tracked down and killed in July 2006, a fate that, sooner or later, surely awaits Umarov. Inevitably, however, a successor will be found and the conflict will drag on until and unless a satisfactory political resolution is achieved.

While it is understandable that the Russian leadership is keen to stress the international nature of the common threat posed by such terror groups, and even point the finger at ‘foreign intelligence services’ in organising the Moscow blasts, the reality is that Russian domestic policy must shoulder the lion’s share of the blame for the North Caucasus tragedy.

Having effectively chosen, under Putin, to follow the Eurasianist ‘great power’ path of development, territorial integrity and a highly-centralised political ‘vertical’ became essential for Russia’s survival. This inhibited movement towards genuine federalism and democracy and enhanced the necessity for prerogative power to be exercised by those factions which were, in fact rather than constitutionally, running the country. Although Medvedev has recognised the obstacles that such policies place in the modernisation path, he seems incapable of shifting his country away from the course Putin has set. (more…)

Chechnya: Monster in the Mountains – I

Chechnya has returned to haunt Russia. Forty deaths by suicide bombs on the Moscow subway confirm that outsourcing rule in the restive republic is a failed policy. But no other plan is in sight; these are not likely to be the last innocent lives lost.

by John Russell


The ease with which terrorists detonated their bombs in the heart of the Russian capital – under the very headquarters of the Federal Security Service at the Lubyanka station and near the world famous Gorky Park – raised serious questions, not just about the ability of Russian security forces to defend citizens, but more fundamentally over the entire Russian policy towards the North Caucasus, begun under Vladimir Putin and carried on by his successor as Russian president, Dmitry Medvedev.

Insofar as Putin’s reputation and popularity were built on his aggressive Chechen policy, the latest spike in attacks from the North Caucasus calls into question his frequent assertions that the ‘war’ against terror in Russia’s southern republics has been won.

For Medvedev, who has been much more proactive in addressing the root problems of the region: corruption, unemployment, low levels of development, a question mark hangs over the future of his hand-picked plenipotentiary to the North Caucasus – Aleksandr Khloponin – who was appointed, one assumes, to tackle these issues. (more…)

Nearly one in four people worldwide is Muslim

Nearly one in four people worldwide is Muslim — and they are not necessarily where you might think, according to an extensive new study that aims to map the global Muslim population.



by Richard Allen Greene


Nearly one in four people worldwide is Muslim — and they are not necessarily where you might think, according to an extensive new study that aims to map the global Muslim population.

Nearly two out of three of the world’s Muslims are in Asia, stretching from Turkey to Indonesia.

India, a majority-Hindu country, has more Muslims than any country except for Indonesia and Pakistan, and more than twice as many as Egypt.

China has more Muslims than Syria.

Germany has more Muslims than Lebanon.

And Russia has more Muslims than Jordan and Libya put together. (more…)

Published in: on 21/04/2010 at 11:20 pm  Comments (7)  

Brzezinski: We baited the Soviets to fall into Afghan trap

According to this interview with Zbigniew Brzezinski, the CIA’s intervention in Afghanistan preceded the 1979 Soviet invasion. This decision of the Carter Administration in 1979 to intervene and destabilise Afghanistan is the root cause of Afghanistan’s destruction as a nation.


Interview with Zbigniew Brzezinski, 
Former President Jimmy Carter’s National Security Adviser


Translated from French by Bill Blum


Question: The former director of the CIA, Robert Gates, stated in his memoirs [“From the Shadows”], that American intelligence services began to aid the Mujahideen in Afghanistan 6 months before the Soviet intervention. In this period you were the national security adviser to President Carter. You therefore played a role in this affair. Is that correct?

Brzezinski: Yes. According to the official version of history, CIA aid to the Mujahideen began during 1980, that is to say, after the Soviet army invaded Afghanistan, 24 Dec 1979. But the reality, secretly guarded until now, is completely otherwise Indeed, it was July 3, 1979 that President Carter signed the first directive for secret aid to the opponents of the pro-Soviet regime in Kabul.

And that very day, I wrote a note to the president in which I explained to him that in my opinion this aid was going to induce a Soviet military intervention.

Q: Despite this risk, you were an advocate of this covert action. But perhaps you yourself desired this Soviet entry into war and looked to provoke it?

Brzezinski:: It isn’t quite that. We didn’t push the Russians to intervene, but we knowingly increased the probability that they would.

Q: When the Soviets justified their intervention by asserting that they intended to fight against a secret involvement of the United States in Afghanistan, people didn’t believe them. However, there was a basis of truth. You don’t regret anything today? (more…)

Published in: on 21/04/2010 at 11:05 pm  Comments (13)  
Tags: , , , , ,

The flying Sikh and the peacenik

AFP OUT) United States President Barack Obama meets Manmohan Singh, the prime minister of India at last week’s Nuclear Security Summit in Washington DC.

M K Bhadrakumar


Senior Indian officials in their private briefing insist there was “almost a Zen-like spiritual quality” to the meeting between Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and United States President Barack Obama in Washington last Sunday. However, the question being posed by the Indian strategic community is still: “Does Obama care about India?”

At the bottom of such poignantly contrasting characterizations of statecraft lie two factors. First, the residual feudal mindset of the Indian invariably attributes what are in reality flaws in policies to personal vagaries in the thinking of the leader. It’s not so simple. Statecraft is a complex crucible where the witches brew is a broth of many strange ingredients that might or might not include “a pilot’s thumb, Wreck’d as homeward he did come”, as the first witch in William Shakespeare’s Macbeth claimed.

Second, generally speaking, India faces an existential dilemma insofar as it is never quite willing to admit it is solely responsible for giving its own life meaning and living that life passionately and sincerely. It fails to account for its “leap of faith”, a phrase commonly attributed to the 19th century Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard – believing in or accepting something intangible or unprovable without empirical evidence.

Sunday’s meeting between the “flying Sikh and the peacenik” – to borrow the words of an Indian editor – was keenly awaited. There is a lot of angst in Delhi about the orientations of the Obama administration’s South Asia policies. Somehow the fizz has gone out of the US-India relationship. This was most conspicuous from the fact that the two sides almost underplayed the Manmohan-Obama meet. The usual hype was lacking in the White House press statement. (more…)

Terrorism: The nuclear summit’s ‘straw man’

The threat of nuclear confrontation remains dangerously high despite the New START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty) with Russia and America’s passive-aggressive Nuclear Posture Review. This is particularly true along the nuclear fault-lines in the Middle East and South Asia which have existed since the Cold War.

Shibil Siddiqi


American President Barack Obama gathered 47 national delegations for the first Nuclear Security Summit (NSS) in Washington on April 12 and 13. It was the largest gathering of world leaders in Washington since the close of World War II. The scale of the summit was meant to impress the gravity of the subject matter.

In Obama’s words, “This is an unprecedented gathering to address an unprecedented threat”: the prevention of nuclear terrorism. In trademark style, Obama offered rhetorical flourishes to fit the occasion: “Two decades after the Cold War we face a cruel irony of history. The risk of nuclear confrontation between nations has gone down, but the risk of nuclear attack has gone up”. The president said that a tiny scrap of plutonium the size of an apple was now the biggest threat to world stability, with “just the tiniest amount of plutonium” in the wrong hands posing potential for catastrophe.

However, the president’s assessment of global nuclear threats paper over some basic realities. The threat of nuclear confrontation remains dangerously high despite the New START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty) with Russia and America’s passive-aggressive Nuclear Posture Review. This is particularly true along the nuclear fault-lines in the Middle East and South Asia which have existed since the Cold War. Perhaps a “dirty bomb” made out of a handful of plutonium or other radiological material forms the most significant “nuclear” threat to the US. But outside of this Western-centric world-view, it is the threat of nuclear attack or exchange in the Middle East and South Asia – home to nearly a fourth of the world’s population – that clearly remains the largest global nuclear threat.


In actuality, the threat of terrorists acquiring a working nuclear device are relatively remote. Building nuclear weapons is a complex and resource intensive business; if it were not, more countries would already possess them.

That leaves the option of stealing a weapon. But pilfering a nuclear weapon is not simply a case of planning a sophisticated smash-and-grab operation. Nuclear weapons have multi-layered security systems, both technological and human. For example, access to nuclear facilities and weapons follows strict chains of command. Warheads are usually stored in several different pieces that require a cross-expertise and technical sophistication to assemble. In addition, they employ security features called Permissive Action Links (PAL) that use either external enabling devices or advanced encryption to secure the weapon. Older security systems include anti-tamper devices capable of exploding the device without a nuclear chain reaction. Not to mention that effectively delivering a nuclear device comes with its own hefty challenges. Thus, there are many serious obstacles to terrorists actually obtaining and setting off a nuclear bomb.

There is, however, a distinct possibility that fissile materials could fall into the hands of terrorists. It would not be a first. Chechen rebels planted crude “dirty bombs” as early as 1995 and 1998. Neither device was detonated and the rebels provided advance warning to the authorities. But they did succeed in terrorizing the general population. Further, in 2007 a nuclear facility in South Africa was attacked twice, but the attackers were repelled before they were able to get any nuclear materials or intelligence on the computer systems. The prime suspects for the end buyers in these attacks are states – primarily Pakistan. Still, an active and lucrative trade in smuggling nuclear materials and technologies makes further such attacks likely.

But strictly speaking, setting off a dirty bomb is not the same as “nuclear terrorism”. A dirty bomb does not involve a devastating nuclear chain reaction. It simply disperses (usually with the aid of conventional explosives) fissile or radiological materials. Such a bomb could potentially cover a relatively large area with radiological material. However, many experts, including the US Department of Energy, have noted that the fallout from such a bomb would not necessarily lead to fatal radiation exposure.

Yet clearly a dirty bomb is a terror weapon simply because it so easily inspires terror. It has the potential to induce serious ill-health in a large population in the medium and long-term, render areas unhabitable and unproductive for long periods of time and would produce psychological effects in the victims and for anyone wanting to resettle in the affected areas.

But the effects of such a bomb would pale in comparison to even a limited exchange of nuclear weapons. Such a nuclear war still remains plausible.


Israel is the only country in the Middle East to possess nuclear weapons, though it does not officially admit to having any under a policy of “nuclear opacity”. Israel acquired the capacity to manufacture nuclear weapons in the mid-1960s. An intelligence estimate by the Central Intelligence Agency from 1967 – the year of the Six Day Arab-Israeli War – states that Israel had already acquired the capability to manufacture a number of nuclear warheads. Israeli warplanes were fitted for delivering nuclear weapons during the 1973 Arab-Israeli war. Of course, this war also generated a nuclear stand-off between the US and the Soviet Union.

Israel’s proliferation record is also on par with or perhaps even surpasses that of Pakistan. In addition to joint testing, Israel is thought to have provided South Africa with up to six functional nuclear warheads in the 1970s – the only known instance of a country simply giving nuclear weapons to another.

Israel presently possesses an estimated 400 nuclear weapons, from powerful thermonuclear devices to tactical or “battlefield” nukes. Its nuclear doctrine embraces not only a “first strike” posture but also one of “preemptive strike” against a conventional or unconventional attack on any of its weapons of mass destruction (nuclear, chemical or biological). It is also committed to maintaining nuclear superiority by preventing any other Middle Eastern country from obtaining nuclear weapons. It has already employed conventional attacks and assassinations to prevent such an outcome.

Further, according to investigative journalist Seymour Hersh, faced with an existential threat Israel’s nuclear doctrine includes the so-called “Samson Option”: a massive nuclear assault against the nations threatening Israel. It was thus named by Israeli leaders of the stature of David Ben-Gurion, Shimon Peres and Moshe Dayan for the Biblical figure of Samson who brought down a Philistine temple, killing himself and hundreds of Philistines gathered there.

Israel remains in constant conflict with its neighbors, providing any number of potential triggers of nuclear conflict. It barely disguises its intention to reject any peace plan with the Palestinians that would require it to end its occupation. Tensions between Israel and the Hezbollah militia in Lebanon remain high. Israel recently attempted to goad negotiations with Syria over the occupied Golan Heights by threatening to go to war with it. This brought on a joint declaration of mutual assistance by Syria and Iran to intervene if either one of them is attacked. And of course, Israel remains unconvinced that “crippling sanctions” against Iran’s nuclear program will materialize and thus, has pushed for attacking Iranian nuclear facilities both publicly and privately. With Iran forging ahead with its program despite American pressure, it remains to be seen how a nearly-nuclear Iran will interplay with Israeli nuclear doctrine.


The other likely region for a nuclear exchange is in South Asia, where regional rivals India and Pakistan possess the world’s fastest growing nuclear arsenal.

India conducted its first nuclear test in 1974. This prompted Pakistan to publicly own up to its own nuclear weapons program that had secretly begun two years prior. Pakistan acquired nuclear weapons capability in the late 1980s with the quiet acquiescence of the US. The US found it convenient to ignore Pakistan’s nuclear weapons program while the country was the “frontline” state in the American-sponsored jihad against the Red Army in Afghanistan. Washington imposed sanctions in 1990, only after credible intelligence assessments indicated that Pakistan had already manufactured a bomb. India conducted another series of nuclear tests in 1998 and this time Pakistan was able to follow suit.

Both India and Pakistan possess an estimated 80 to 120 nuclear warheads, though the actual numbers may be higher, particularly for India. Pakistan has a “first use” policy in the face of a large conventional losses, whereas the more powerful India prescribes to a “no first use” nuclear doctrine.

Pakistan has already displayed the most reckless nuclear brinkmanship since the Cuban Missiles Crisis. In 1999, its army incited a war in Kargil in Indian-occupied Kashmir. As the conflict escalated with the Indian Air Force being engaged, Pakistan’s mobile nuclear missile launchers were allegedly put on alert. Then army chief General Pervez Musharraf believed that a potential nuclear conflict would successfully “internationalize” the Kashmir imbroglio (he was dangerously wrong). Both countries’ nuclear arsenals were similarly put on alert during their tense 2002 stand-off brought on by a terrorist attack on Indian Parliament.

Unlike Israel and South Africa, which officially stayed mum about their nuclear weapons, both the Indian and Pakistani tests were publicly celebrated as VIP passes into the exclusive nuclear club. Except neither country was accepted as a legitimate nuclear power. International sanctions quickly followed against both countries, with Pakistani sanctions being more stringent.

But this changed with a deepening America-India alliance under former US president George W Bush. India became the most prominent counter-point in designs to ring China with American allies. This resulted in a civilian nuclear deal under the so-called 123 Agreement, making India the only country in the world that can engage in nuclear commerce without being a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. India can now use its older reactors not covered by the deal almost exclusively for its weapons program.

This has fuelled a renewed nuclear weapons race with Pakistan, which has been seeking a similar civilian nuclear deal from the US and China. The topic figured prominently in the recent Pakistani delegation to Washington for the US-Pakistan “Strategic Dialogue” and the issue has taken on a greater urgency for Pakistan since the “leak” of India’s new “Cold Start” military doctrine late last year. Cold Start involves rapid and massive offensives against Pakistan (and China). Pakistan’s army chief has responded with a veiled but unambiguous threat that the country would use nuclear weapons in the case of such a conflict. Just as terrifying as Pakistan’s response is that Cold Start actually anticipates a nuclear war. Thus, the South Asian region teeters along the precipice of an unimaginable conflict even as the nuclear arms race is being escalated through the US-India partnership.


Last week’s nuclear summit in Washington is a big summit about a relatively little problem when it comes to the question of nuclear disarmament. It is no doubt a positive achievement and will be all the more so if it leads to some kind of treaty to regulate and limit fissile material. But this essentially sets up and then effectively knocks down a straw man – that of “nuclear terrorism”, an issue that everyone already agrees upon anyway. The fanfare of the summit effectively deflects the problem of nuclear disarmament and locates the threat of nuclear Armageddon in the wrong place. When it comes to nuclear weapons, the threat of inter-state conflict far outweighs the dangers posed by non-state actors.

But perhaps this is the intent. In dealing with foreign relations, Obama’s presidency has simply brought a new style to a substantively same policy direction. The nuclear arsenals of Israel, India and Pakistan maintain strategic balances that are favorable to the US. Little surprise that conversations about the clear and present danger that these strategic American allies present are kept on the back-burner.

Shibil Siddiqi is a Fellow with the Center for the Study of Global Power and Politics at Trent University and a contributor to Foreign Policy in Focus, the Canadian Center for Policy Alternatives and ZNet.


Source: GeoploticalNWO
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the ‘Wonders of Pakistan’. The contents of this article too are the sole responsibility of the author(s). WoP will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this post.



The puppet tries to cut his strings

Watching Washington’s growing anger with Afghan president Hamid Karzai, one recalls the unhappy endings of such former US allies as South Vietnam’s Diem, Iran’s Shah, Indonesia’s Suharto, Nicaragua’s Somoza, and Pakistan’s Zia ul-Haq.

Eric Margolis


As Henry Kissinger once rightly observed, it is often more dangerous being America’s ally than its enemy.

Watching Washington’s growing anger with Afghan president Hamid Karzai, one recalls the unhappy endings of such former US allies as South Vietnam’s Diem, Iran’s Shah, Indonesia’s Suharto, Nicaragua’s Somoza, and Pakistan’s Zia ul-Haq.

Washington has been loudly hinting it would like to oust Karzai, but so far it has not managed to identify a suitable replacement who commands any respect or tribal support from Afghans.

The Obama administration flirted with trying to replace Karzai by the North Alliance chief, Abdullah Abdullah, but he had too many Communist and drug-dealer skeletons in his closet.

The Obama administration is blaming the largely powerless Karzai, a former CIA `asset,’ for America’s failure to defeat Taliban.

Washington accused its man Karzai of rigging last year’s elections. That’s true.  But the US pre-rigged the Afghan elections by excluding all parties opposed to Western occupation.  The US is doing the same thing in Iraq’s elections.

Washington, which supports dictators and phony elections all over Africa and Asia, had the nerve to rebuke Karzai for corruption and rigging votes.  Meanwhile, it appears the Pentagon was busy preparing the groundwork for a full military takeover of Pakistan.

You could almost hear Washington crying at Karzai, `bad puppet! Bad puppet!’

Karzai fired back, accusing the US of vote-rigging. He has repeatedly demanded the US military stop killing so many Afghan civilians.

Next, Karzai dropped a bombshell, asserting the US was occupying Afghanistan to dominate the energy-rich Caspian Basin region, not because of the non-existent al-Qaida or Taliban.

Karzai rightly described Taliban as a national resistance movement fighting Western occupation.  He invited Iran’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to Kabul, further enraging the Americans who will soon have 100,000 troops in Afghanistan.

Last week, Karzai even half-jested he might join Taliban. This, after a whirlwind visit by President Barack Obama that apparently did not patch up their growing differences.

Washington had apoplexy. A vicious propaganda campaign was immediately unleashed against Karzai.

The `New York Times,’ which speaks for the Obama administration and is an ardent backer of the Afghan war, all but called in a custom-made op-ed column for the overthrow of Karzai and his replacement by a compliant general.  Keep your eyes on the Afghan defense minister, Gen. Abdul Rahim Wardak, whom I remember well, and with respect, from the 1980’s anti-Soviet war.

A louche American self-promoter, Peter Galbraith, who had been fired from his job with the UN in Kabul, was trotted out to tell media that Karzai might be both a drug addict and crazy.

Behind this ugly, if also comical, spat lay a growing divergence between Afghans and Washington.  After 31 years of conflict, nearly 3 million dead, millions more refugees, and frightful poverty, Afghans yearn for peace.

For the past two years, Karzai and his warlord allies have been holding peace talks with Taliban in Saudi Arabia, which has long played an important role in Afghanistan – and will continue to do so in the future.

Karzai knows the way to end the Afghan conflict is to enfranchise the nation’s Pashtun majority and its fighting arm, Taliban.   Political compromise with Taliban is the only – and inevitable- solution.

But the Obama administration, misadvised by Washington neocons and other hardliners, is determined to `win’ a military victory in Afghanistan (whatever that means) to save face as a great power, and impose a settlement that leaves it in control of strategic Afghanistan.  US propaganda has so demonized Taliban that negotiating with it has become politically impossible for the Western powers.

Accordingly, the US thwarted Karzai’s peace talks by getting Pakistan, currently the recipient of $7 billion in US cash, to arrest senior Taliban leaders sheltering there  who had been part of the ongoing peace negotiations with Kabul.

It was Karzai’s turn to be enraged.  So he began openly defying his American patrons and adopting an independent position. The puppet was cutting his strings.

Karzai’s newfound boldness was due to the fact that both India and China are eager to replace US/British domination of Afghanistan.

India is pouring money, arms and agents into Afghanistan and training government forces.  China, more discreetly, is moving in to exploit Afghanistan’s recently discovered mineral wealth that says Karzai, is worth $1 trillion, according to a recent US government geological survey.

China, Pakistan’s closet ally, clearly does not want to see rival India become the new protector of Afghanistan.

Russia, still smarting from its 1980’s defeat in Afghanistan, is watching America’s travails there with rich enjoyment. Moscow has its own ambitions in Afghanistan.  Happy to see the US fight Taliban, Moscow hopes to eventually pick up the pieces after the US and its dragooned allies become exhausted by the Afghan conflict, which will end up costing Washington at least $1 trillion.

This column has long noted that Karzai’s best survival option is to distance himself from American tutelage and demand the withdrawal of all foreign occupation forces.

Risky business, of course.  Remember Kissinger’s warning. Karzai could end up dead. But he could also become a national hero and best candidate to lead an independent Afghanistan that all ethnic groups could accept.

Washington keeps making the same mistake of seeking obedient sycophants rather than legitimate, popular allies.

Copyright Eric S. Margolis 2010


Source: ericmargolis.com
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the ‘Wonders of Pakistan’. The contents of this article too are the sole responsibility of the author(s). WoP will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this post.



Punjab can no longer live in a state of denial

In the 1980’s President Reagan’s administration found a great ally in the form of Pakistani leader General Zia ul Haq who was willing to allow Pakistan to be used as a base to receive American weapons and support to be funneled to the Afghani resistance fighting the Soviets. With the help of the US, Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan, a fundamentalist and well financed Saudi by the name of Osama Bin Laden became one of the key players in organizing training camps of radicalized Muslims eager to wage jihad against the communist regime of the Soviet Union. Soon, over 35,000 fundamentalists came to fight alongside the Afghani holy warriors. Sylvester Stallone’s Rambo III (1988) was based on this vision of the world: when the “good” guys were the Bin Laden and mujahideen “holy warriors” fighting the “evil communist” Soviet empire.



by Ayaz Amir


The United States and Pakistan’s spy agency the ISI, provided arms and funding to the Afghans resisting the invasion of Afghanistan. The ISI also assisted in the process of gathering radical Muslims from Afghanistan, Pakistan and indeed around the world to help in fighting the Soviets. With the help of the US, Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan, a fundamentalist and well financed Saudi by the name of Osama Bin Laden became one of the key players in organizing training camps of radicalized Muslims eager to wage jihad against the communist regime of the Soviet Union. Soon, over 35,000 fundamentalists came to fight alongside the Afghani holy warriors. Sylvester Stallone’s Rambo III (1988) was based on this vision of the world: when the “good” guys were the Bin Laden and mujahideen “holy warriors” fighting the “evil communist” Soviet empire.


If FATA represents the cutting edge of terrorism in the name of Islam, Punjab, unfortunately, is the hinterland of this phenomenon. Or, to borrow a phrase from the repertoire of military folly, Punjab is the strategic depth of bigotry and extremism masquerading in the colours of Islam.

Religious extremism took root in the soil of Pakistan thanks to the so-called Islamisation policies of Gen Ziaul Haq and his role in pushing the first Afghan ‘jihad’. The dragon’s teeth of our sorrows were scattered by Zia. We are reaping the harvest.

Next in the line of military saviours, Pervez Musharraf — may Pakistan for all its faults never have such a saviour again — could have reversed the trend of the Zia years. But he had only a limited understanding of things. President Asif Zardari is not the first of our accidental leaders. Musharraf was another product of accident and circumstances. Had he not been plucked out of Mangla and made army chief Pakistan would have been spared the misfortunes it had to endure under his star. (more…)

Chechens’ fight for freedom [terror]

During Chechens’ struggle for independence, powerful Russian forces invaded and crushed the life out of Chechen resistance. All moderate Chechen leaders were assassinated, leaving mostly militant Islamists. A Moscow-installed Chechen puppet regime imposed a rein of terror upon the population, using torture, murder, mass reprisals, hostages and rape.
The world ignored these violations but paid rapt attention to another crime, the death of over 300 Russian child hostages in the still murky school massacre at Beslan. As the outside world totally ignored the death of another 100,000 Chechen after Moscow successfully branded them, `Islamic terrorists’ a quarter of the Chechen people, Muslims and Russians, died from 1991 until 2010, not counting Stalin’s mass murder. Yet Chechen keep fighting on.




Note for WoP readers: Chechnya is a country in the Northern Caucuses. Majority of its people are Muslim by faith.

Chechens are fighting for freedom since last 300 years. They first fought against the Tsars, then Soviets and now again they are up in arms against the Russian Federation. (more…)

The Stunning Investigative Story on the Birth of Balochistan Liberation Army – IV

In the past when the Baloch Sardars were enthusiastically selling Balochistan to the British government, there was no support to the idea of Pakistan whereas the ordinary Baloch gave full approval for Pakistan. Any positive development in Balochistan would go against the interests of Sardars and only a fool would expect them to do anything for the good of their people. Bear in mind that Marri and Mengal Sardars first stood up against the Pakistan government when the law was passed to abolish Sardari system in Balochistan to free the ordinary Baloch from the clutches of their tribal leaders.

Except for Balochistan, rest of Pakistan is useless for Americans, assert the two former agents of the KGB.




By Tariq Saeedi in Ashgabat, Sergi Pyatakov in Moscow, Ali Nasimzadeh in Zahidan, Qasim Jan in Kandahar and SM Kasi in Quetta


Question: OK. This sounds plausible. But what interest could Russia have in helping Pentagon in this trouble-Balochistan project?

Sasha: Russia has its own policy goals and as far as the present phase of creating trouble in Balochistan is concerned, American and Russian goals are not in conflict with each other. Russia wants to maintain its monopoly over all the energy resources of Central Asia.

At present, the Central Asian countries are dependent entirely on Russia for export of their gas projects proceeds, it would open the floodgates of exodus. Central Asian countries would understandably rush to the market that pays 100% in cash and pays better price than Russia. It is therefore very clear that by keeping Balochistan red hot, Russia can hope to discourage Trans-Afghan pipeline or any other similar projects. Russian economy in its present form is based on the monopoly of Gazprom and if Gazprom goes under, so will the Russian economy at some stage. (more…)

The Stunning Investigative Story on the Birth of Balochistan Liberation Army – III

In Balochistan, a larger, triangle that affords a kind of cushion for the first triangle is formed by Naushki, Wana (in NWFP) and Kashmore. Actually, landscape of Balochistan is such that it offers scores of safe havens, inaccessible to outsiders. Starting from the coastline, there are Makran Coastal Range, Siahan Range, Ras Koh, Sultan Koh and Chagai Hills that are cutting the land in east-west direction. In the north-south direction, we find Suleman Range, Kithara Range, Palma Range and Central Ravi Range to complete the task of forming deep and inaccessible pockets. Few direct routes are possible between the coastline and upper Balochistan. Only two roads connect Balochistan with the rest of the country. Apart from the triangles of instability that we have mentioned there is an arc – a wide, slowly curving corridor – of extensive activity. It is difficult to make out as to who is doing what in that corridor!



by Tariq Saeedi in Ashgabat, Sergi Pyatakov in Moscow, Ali Nasimzadeh in Zahidan, Qasim Jan in Kandahar and SM Kasi in Quetta


There is another, larger, triangle that affords a kind of cushion for the first triangle. It is formed by Naushki, Wana (in NWFP) and Kashmore. Actually, landscape of Balochistan is such that it offers scores of safe havens, inaccessible to outsiders.

Starting from the coastline, there are Makran Coastal Range, Siahan Range, Ras Koh, Sultan Koh and Chagai Hills that are cutting the land in east-west direction. In the north-south direction, we find Suleman Range, Kithara Range, Palma Range and Central Ravi Range to complete the task of forming deep and inaccessible pockets. Few direct routes are possible between the coastline and upper Balochistan. Only two roads connect Balochistan with the rest of the country. (more…)

The Stunning Investigative Story on the Birth of Balochistan Liberation Army – II

Insurgent in action:  A basic insurgent gets around US $200 per month, a small fortune for anyone who never has a hope of landing any decent government job in their home towns. The section leaders get upward of US $300 and there are special bonuses for executing a task successfully. Although no exact amount of reward could be ascertained for specific tasks, one can assume that it must be substantial because some BLA activists have lately built new houses in Dalbandin, Naushki, Kohlu, Sibi, Khuzdar and Dera Bugti. Also, quite a few young Baloch activists have recently acquired new, flashy SUVs.



By Tariq Saeedi in Ashgabat, Sergi Pyatakov in Moscow, Ali Nasimzadeh in Zahidan, Qasim Jan in Kandahar and SM Kasi in Quetta



In Kohlu they met with some Baloch youth and one American stayed in Kohlu while two Indians and one American went to Dera Bugti and returned after a few days. They spent the next couple of weeks in intense consultations with some Baloch activists and their mentors and then the work started for setting up a camp.

“Balach was one of our good boys and even though I don’t know who the present operators are, it can be said safely that Kohlu must have been picked as the first base because of Balach,” said Misha. (more…)

The Stunning Investigative Story on the Birth of Balochistan Liberation Army – I

Because of his intimate connections with India and Russia, it was no surprise that Balach Marri was picked as the new head of the revived BLA. He was later killed in an encounter with Pakistani forces in 2007.

Deception and treachery. Live and let die. The ultimate zero sum game. Repetition of bloody history: Call it what you may, something is happening in the Pakistani province of Balochistan that defies comprehension on any conventional scale.





By Tariq Saeedi in Ashgabat, Sergi Pyatakov in Moscow, Ali Nasimzadeh in Zahidan, Qasim Jan in Kandahar and SM Kasi in Quetta·


Four correspondents and dozens of associates who collectively logged more than 5000 kilometers during the seven weeks spent in pursuit of a single question – What is happening in Balochistan? – have only been able to uncover small parts of the entire picture. (more…)

Who created the BLA [Balochistan Liberation Army]

Pakistan Army unloading goods in Balochistan

by Nayyar Hashmey


Peter Chamberlin is not only a blogger but a world class writer as well. He picks up his pen to jot down highly readable, analytical and thought provoking articles. And as I already said in a previous note, his is the blog that’s one of my most favorites. Some days back he put up a sensational [not in the journalistic sense but an alarming one] report rather for all of us].

This report has been compiled by five different journalists each one of them sitting in the very nerve centre that causes to move different state and non state actors to mark the dots. They do say though they still need a lot  of dots to connect, yet after going through their report, like a crystal gazer you can look through the glass and see so vividly how do these dots are put, moved, interlinked and above all where-these-dots-are, who-are-drawing-the-lines, and who-is-connecting-all- these-lines to land these into the very theater, where this whole drama of ruthless geopolitics, the great rich central Asian highlands is going to be staged very soon.

In the beginning [when I started editing this blog – it was in May/June 2008], I had a feeling that people who want friendly relations between India and Pakistan should not put up posts on their blogs & websites as this could further deteriorate the already tense situation that exists between the two.

I, therefore, kept the matter restricted mainly to tourism, history, heritage, art & culture. There used to be hardly 1 or 2 posts every month on politics. Contentious issues were not touched in principle.

Gradually, however, I came to realize that turning our eyes away from such differences and disputes would not solve the problem / s at all.


Because the machinations of respective governments, their spy masters including the top brass as well as the rank and file, groups with vested interests including the religio-mercantile-industry combine, notwithstanding the geopolitical players doing their job- disseminating the philosophy of terror, hate and animosity sometime in the name of religion, another time in the name of pseudo patriotism, and  then also in the name of a word that is very fashionable these days ‘the national security’ were mostly profiteering from exploitations of the common people every where.  The result therefore, has been more aggrandizement not only between the governments but also amongst the common public as well.  To add fuel to the fire, such designs, such machinations, such strategies were and are continually being hyped up by the mainstream media.


I felt the need to highlight such issues so that people at large know all sides of a particular contentious issue; without any taint or color as Peter would term it “without sunglasses”. In other words, every issue, every dispute, every contention be seen in the broad daylight. It has been in this context that I decided to put up matter on such political issues as well, for I now believe that all machinations, all strategies, all conspiring by respective governments  and their organs, vested groups, need be exposed as far as possible.

While writing these lines, I do understand: putting up contentious material on any medium does not and should not mean one has abrogated one’s true patriotism. Like any other Pakistani I love my country but my patriotism does not spring from a negative view of all those who may differ from us, neither is it based on animosity towards others, be they the individuals, communities, cultures,  different religions and nations. On the other hand, putting up material on all issues, particularly the contentious ones to the general reader, enables him / her to adjudge what’s wrong, what’s right.

It’s in this context that I accessed [courtesy once again to Peter Chamberlin’s blog] a report compiled by Turkmenistan News Agency. The report reveals some startling as well as highly alarming facts on what the US-Russian-India combine is attempting to do in Pakistan.

Though in the initial part of their report, the authors try to avoid attributing the subversion in Balochistan by using BLA as a surrogate, to any government, in later parts however, they  do conclude that it is most probably the CIA-RAW and Russian intelligence which of late have been joined by Iran as well [though partially].

The contributors conclude that by and large the people of Balochistan are as patriotic as their countrymen in other four provinces of Pakistan. However, as they say, a little spark needs a little of fuel, and it turns into a big fire, a fire that will not only burn the ‘les miserables’ but the whole body. Right now it’s our body, our corpus that’s at stake.

The happenings of late February / March this year have made our government celebrate the successes in having marginalized India in Afghanistan [at least it appears so] but question remains: success at what cost!

As we would increase the pressure on Taliban in Afghanistan our country being direct partner and a frontline ally of the United States of America, how could we then say [that’s what our government’s rhetoric is]. “It’s not our war, neither are we fighting this war nor we a party to it – we are trying to fight the terrorists who are attacking our people, our properties and our state institutions, we will defeat terrorism at any cost. It’s not America’s war, it’s our war”.

Contrary to such rhetoric’s, we are sacrificing our sons for purposes which fit precisely into the context of a larger geopolitical agenda of the world’s sole super power as her friend and ally. But as Henry Kissinger cynically would say Being America’s ally is more dangerous than being its enemy”.

We are America’s ally and we are throwing ourselves into more and more dangerous situations than ever before.

To quote our rulers once again. “It’s our war” they say. But it is not our war, its America’s war, our country is at stake, our people are at stake, the people who are mired in an unending struggle to earn bread for their children. The people are least bothered who is wining, the Americans or their opposing forces. They want bread, they need education, healthcare and a livelihood for their families. Unfortunately they have none at the moment. But they are paying the price for what their rulers are doing in their name.

It’s high time now that we realistically look to ourselves and ask, where do we stand in this war on terror! By offering our sons as cannon fodder, Pakistanis pitted against Pakistanis, can we keep our federation intact. Can we think of a stable nation state of Pakistan?


Is India’s Regional Influence on the wane?

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran, center, with President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan, left, and President Asif Ali Zardari of Pakistan [Photographed May 24, 2009] With Pakistan and Afghanistan fighting the radical, Islamic insurgents, the meeting seemed designed by Iran to assure its neighbors that working together the three could solve their problems without having to rely on the West.



Chacko Philip, France


In recent weeks, lot of things were happening in the Afghanistan-Pakistan theatre which are critical to the evolution of India’s regional role and its foreign policy. On 26 February 2010, at least nine Indians, including three army officers were killed in a terrorist attack in Kabul. The attack was carried out focussing the residential areas used by Indians working in Afghanistan. The Indian National Security Advisor, Mr. Shiv Shankar Menon made a two day visit to Kabul on 5 March 2010 to review the security situation of the Indians working there. Following his visit, Pakistani Army Chief General Pervez Kiani met the Afghan President, Hamid Karzai in Kabul, on 6 March 2010, to discuss “matters of mutual interest”.

On 7 March 2010, the US Defense Secretary Robert Gates carried out an urgent visit to Kabul. This was in view of the scheduled visit of the President of Iran, Mahmud Ahmadinejad on 10 March 2010. The Iranian president’s visit was aimed at showing their strong support for President Karzai and to secure Afghan support. This was followed by a two day visit by President Karzai to Pakistan on 10 March 2010. During this visit, Karzai held talks with his Pakistani counterpart, President Asif Ali Zardari and also had a separate meeting with Pakistani Army Chief, General Kiani. (more…)

America’s “Islamists” Go Where Oilmen Fear to Tread

Unlike this image, where you can easily recognize the wolf in a sheep’ cloak, the science of propaganda, psyops and killings through conventional as well as ultra modern weapons has been perfected to such an extent that it’s difficult to differentiate between terrorism and its victims. Wolves as sheep and the sheep have been turned into monsters.

by Peter Chamberlain


By following the trail of militant terrorists US forces and American interests have gained access deep in Central Asia, where oil companies have had little luck gaining a foothold on their own.

To students of American foreign policy in Afghanistan and throughout the world, it is common knowledge that the United States military and Central Intelligence often act in a manner that is contradictory to the words of American leaders. (more…)

You Don’t Pee in My Pool and I Won’t Sh*t in Your Sandbox – IV

Does “special ties” mean their Political Action Committees and Funds?  It is time for the US and the US politicians to quit prostituting themselves out for Israeli PAC money and do the right thing for America.

“Bibi” Netanyahu in Washington


OK, this is a long post, and I beg you to read it fully.  The Palestinian – Israeli conflict is a complicated one, I don’t profess to be an expert, but I do believe that if we educate ourselves we stand a better chance at solving it.

For those of you “Tweeters” out there who want news in 140 characters or less, this won’t fit for you, if you want to think…grab a cup of coffee sit down and read…

I think we can all agree that Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is an idiot.  His rhetoric is obscene and inflammatory, but you know what …I am fully convinced that Netanyahu is just as evil in his rhetoric.

These folks have something else in common…neither of them are based in reality, neither of them have any regard for the UN or any other recognized government’s opinion or sovereignty, nor does the idea of what is the morally right and just course of action apply to either of them.

What will it take for Israel to get the message?  The world is rapidly running out of time to placate Israel and their disregard for reality.   Solving the Israeli – Palestinian conflict will help us get out of Afghanistan and Iraq, I want my family members home who serve their country.

I am tired of American blood being shed.  We are fighting with one hand tied behind our back, if we solve the Palestinian problem, it removes a MAJOR source of tension and feed for those who want to terrorize the world.  I often wonder if we are fighting the wrong enemy?

Perhaps our biggest enemy is Israel and their refusal to engage in a realistic peace process or implement any of the 60 plus resolution passed by the UN.

Their continual provocation and escalation of the situation as so well illustrated by Benjamin Netanyahu  – the current Israeli Prime Minister and his recent  inflammatory remarks that Jerusalem was the capital of Israel.  Israel continually ignores and has no use for the UN, unless of course the UN is going to protect them, when it is  somebody else’s blood being shed on their behalf , like right now there are UN peacekeeping troops on the Israeli – Lebanon border, then the UN is just dandy!

Israel is a rogue state, just like Iran.  And no, I am not being anti-semantic here, it is just a fact.  Given the recent events linking Mossad the Israeli intelligence agency to the Dubai Murder of a Hamas member, using cloned passports from all over the world and the expansion and inflammatory language from Netanyahu I ask a simple question:  What is the difference between Iran and Israel?

UN chief Ban Ki-moon has slammed Israel for approving construction of 20 new apartments in occupied East Jerusalem, pressing that the building of “illegal” settlements “must stop”. Photo: AP / Khalil Hamraa

The US should own up to what we have created, we continually blocked binding resolutions and resolutions condemning Israel because of our “special ties” with Israel.  Does “special ties” mean their Political Action Committees and Funds?

It is time for the US and the US politicians to quit prostituting themselves out for Israeli PAC money and do the right thing for America.   Here is an organization – the UN -delegated with keeping the peace of the world, and guess who has consistently ignored resolutions with regard to the Palestinian Israeli conflict?  Israel.

In January Secretary General of the UN Ban Ki-moon made the following statement at the opening of the 2010 session of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, in New York, 21 January:

I congratulate you and your distinguished colleagues on your re-election to the leadership of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People.

As we open this year’s session, intensive efforts are under way by the international community to restart the long-stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations.  I support the United States-led efforts to bring about a resumption of meaningful negotiations on all final status issues, including the security of Israelis and Palestinians, borders, refugees and Jerusalem.

In the absence of talks, confidence between the parties has diminished.  Tensions have risen in East Jerusalem.  People in Gaza and southern Israel continue to suffer from violence.  If we do not move forward on the political process soon, we risk sliding backwards.

Notwithstanding the Government of Israel’s decision to restrain settlement construction in the West Bank, I am concerned that settlement activity and financial support for settlement expansion continues in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

The international community has repeatedly appealed to Israel to halt settlement construction throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory.  Settlement construction violates international law and contravenes the Road Map, under which Israel is obliged to freeze all settlement activity, including the so-called “natural growth”.

This is in no one’s interest, least of all Israel’s.  Settlement activity undermines trust between the two parties, seems to pre-judge the outcome of the future permanent status negotiations, and imperils the basis for the two-State solution.

In East Jerusalem, a series of worrisome events has not only stoked tensions in the city but also has the potential to endanger stability in the region.  The Israeli authorities have continued to discriminate against Palestinian residents, including by ordering house demolitions and evictions and revoking identity cards.  Local authorities have also announced plans to consolidate and expand settlement infrastructure.

It bears repeating that the international community does not recognize Israel’s annexation of East Jerusalem, which remains part of the Occupied Palestinian Territory.  The question of Jerusalem is a central and highly sensitive issue to be addressed by the parties in permanent status negotiations. A way must be found, through negotiations, for Jerusalem to emerge as the capital of two States living side-by-side in peace and security, with arrangements for the holy sites acceptable to all.  This is the road to fulfilling the vision of Security Council resolutions and the Arab Peace Initiative.

In Gaza, one year after the end of the most recent round of hostilities, neither the issues that led to the conflict nor its aftermath have been fully addressed.  Very few of the key measures for stability, as identified in Security Council resolution 1860, have been implemented.  Moreover, and regrettably, accountability for violations of international humanitarian and human rights law has not been adequately addressed.  I call on Israel and the relevant Palestinian authorities to conduct, without delay, credible domestic investigations into the many reported allegations of serious human rights violations.

The grave humanitarian situation in Gaza remains of special concern to me.  The amount of humanitarian and other supplies allowed in is insufficient to meet the needs of the population or to enable urgently needed reconstruction.  I deeply regret that the United Nations proposal to kick-start civilian reconstruction activity has not been approved.  I repeat my call on Israel to end its unacceptable and counterproductive blockade and to fully respect international law.

I am also greatly concerned about those in southern Israel who have to live in fear of continuing Palestinian rocket and mortar fire from Gaza.  I call for a complete end to violence and the targeting of Israeli civilians.

For 42 long years, the Palestinian people have been living under occupation.  I reiterate my firm commitment to putting an end to the occupation, and to the conflict, through the creation of a State of Palestine living side by side with Israel in peace and security, and through the achievement of a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the region.

We shall pursue this objective in keeping with Security Council resolutions, previous agreements, the Road Map and the Arab Peace Initiative.

If we are to advance this common agenda in the crucial period ahead, a revitalized Quartet must step up its engagement.  This Committee has also a contribution to make.

I look forward to continuing our work together to end a tragic situation that has persisted for far too long, to the detriment of far too many men, women and children.

Today Ban Ki-moon made the following statement:

New York, 24 March 2010 – Secretary-General’s press encounter following security council briefing on the Middle East

Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. It is a great pleasure to see you.

I have just briefed the Security Council on last Friday’s Quartet meeting and my own visit to Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory.

Tomorrow I am heading to Sirte, Libya, to participate in the League of Arab States Summit meeting.

These missions take place amid continuing efforts to start Israeli-Palestinian proximity talks, as well as a crisis of confidence surrounding Israel’s plans to build new settlements in East Jerusalem.

I am aware of the latest news concerning yet another 20 dwellings to be constructed in East Jerusalem, this time in the heart of an Arab neighborhood.

I say again, here, what I have been repeatedly saying: that settlements are illegal under international law. This must stop.

From my discussions with the Israeli and Palestinian leadership and the Quartet members, as well as what I saw for myself in Gaza, the West Bank and Jerusalem, I would draw four main points:

First, there is no alternative to negotiations for a two-state solution. As the Quartet stressed, proximity talks should move ahead, evolving into direct negotiations between the parties as soon as possible. The goal should be to resolve all final status issues within 24 months.

Second, we must not let those negotiations be disrupted by provocations. No doubt there will be tests. However, you should know that extremists must know that the parties are determined to stay at the table.

Third, there have been too many negative facts on the ground. We need more positive facts — a settlement freeze, a lifting of the blockade of Gaza, an end to rocket fire from Gaza, an easing of the constraints that stifle Palestinian life, prisoner exchanges, Palestinian unity, further security and economic progress by the Palestinian Authority.

The list is long, and time is very short. Israelis and Palestinians should do much more to build trust and meet their obligations under international law and the Roadmap.

Fourth, while peace is primarily in the hands of the parties themselves, the international community will continue to play a crucial role. At this important juncture, the Quartet is determined to push the parties and monitor the situation. That is one of the reasons why I am going to Sirte to meet with Arab leaders to encourage and facilitate and support these proximity talks. The parameters of a solution are well known. Our challenge is to get from here to there.

Thank you very much.

Q: Mr. Secretary-General, you spoke of how the indirect talks should not be interrupted or delayed by provocations. What about pre-conditions? Would you say that the Palestinian side should not allow the building going on as a pre-condition for beginning these indirect talks and moving to direct talks?

SG: Most ideally speaking, there should be no pre-conditions in talks. There should be negotiations going on. The process for these proximity talks has been agreed upon. It has been quite difficult. However, I am pleased these parties have agreed to engage in proximity talks. Therefore, any unilateral actions, which would undermine or prejudice the final outcome of this negotiation will have to be refrained.

Q: Mr. Secretary-General, you’re going to Sirte to tell the Arab leaders there’s no alternative but a negotiated two-state solution. Many Arab countries including Saudi Arabia have come and said that the statements of the Israeli Prime Minister Mr. [Binyamin] Netanyahu in Washington about East Jerusalem have torpedoed the talks, and they want clarifications from the Quartet and the United Nations on their position on such statements. What do you say to these Arab countries who are very worried that this is not a pre-condition, that this is already undermining the final status talks by declaring a position on a very important subject for the Arabs and for the world: East Jerusalem. What do you say to that?

SG: That is exactly what and why I have been saying that not only the parties concerned, the whole international community, particularly the countries in the region should do their best to encourage these talks. I know that the Arab countries are frustrated, and they express their concerns and even reluctance in supporting these proximity talks. I have been engaging in bilateral talks with many Arab leaders, advising an opinion to them to support this dialogue process, and I’m grateful for their flexibility, even though they have given some conditional support. This support should continue so that Israeli and Palestinians will continue their bilateral negotiations. These proximity talks eventually should lead to direct negotiations. I will talk first of all with President [Mahmoud] Abbas of the Palestinian Authority and engage a group of Arab leaders collectively and individually, and I’m going to discuss this matter with them.

Q: A follow-up, sir. It seems like all the talking has been done with Arab leaders, while many feel that the Israelis should be told to refrain from making such statements on a very important topic, East Jerusalem, in a very definite way, which Binyamin Netanyahu did!

SG: The Quartet and the United Nations and the whole international community have been vocal and clear and loud that Jerusalem is an issue that should be negotiated and discussed as a result of a final negotiation.

Q: I wanted to ask in the run-up to this meeting with the Group of Friends of Myanmar, Aung San Suu Kyi has said that her party, the NLD [National League for Democracy], and other opposition parties, shouldn’t even register for the poll, that the election laws are flawed. I’m wondering; you convened the meeting, what’s your thinking of what the UN can do, given that the main opponent now wants to boycott it? And just one other thing, a week ago you’d said on the Sri Lanka panel or board on accountability that there’d be no delay. So a week’s gone by, I want to know if anything’s been done in that regard in that week?

SG: For your first question, let me answer tomorrow afternoon after I have convened the meeting of the Group of Friends of Myanmar. I need to discuss this matter with the ambassadors participating in that meeting. I will have a clearer answer, if you excuse me.

And second, I’m in the process of identifying persons who can work in the panel of experts. My chef de cabinet has been meeting with the Sri Lankan ambassador here and they are now in the process of making a move on this, and I expect that Mr. Lynn Pascoe will be able to visit Sri Lanka in the near future to discuss all the matters.

Q: Mr. Secretary-General, in the past week you’ve seen Prime Minister Netanyahu, and you met yesterday with the opposition leader [of Israel] Tzipi Livni. Do you sense at all that there’s any room for movement in these proximity talks? It seems that, particularly in his speech in Washington, the Prime Minister took a very, very hard line defending the settlements and everything else, so I wonder if whether in your private talks you got any sense that there was any room for movement or flexibility?

SG: First of all, you should know the positions of both Israelis and Palestinians on proximity talks. These proximity, talks facilitated by the United States with a lot of political difficulty, have now been agreed. This is an encouraging point. How much progress can they make? I think they need to discuss all substantive core issues in the proximity talks. If you remember, there is a conditional restraint on settlements, freeze by the Israeli Government, and again some conditional support by the League of Arab States on these proximity talks. Time is very short so we must make progress so that they can move further toward direct negotiations. I can only urge the parties concerned to engage in dialogue with sincerity, sense of flexibility and also political will with longer perspective, visions.

Q: Mr. Secretary-General, while you were talking in Moscow and here in Washington and other places, while talks are for talks and may take a very long time, what did you sense from the leaders and the ministers regarding the situation in Gaza? Are the people of Gaza going to wait many years until this blockade will be lifted?

SG: My second visit to Gaza was very much sobering. I went there with a sense of a heavy mind, knowing that the people in Gaza have been living under such very difficult circumstances. I have seen many houses and ruins still lying without being cleared. All these things need to be accelerated, for reconstruction, which will last one year after the end of this conflict. Nothing has been done, and I was relieved that the Israeli Government had finally approved the United Nations humanitarian projects. But as I said it is just less than one per cent of all the requirements which are needed to reconstruct all the Gazan economy. I have made this case very strongly to the Israeli authorities that the longer this closure continues, the more the people, Palestinians in Gaza, will suffer and may end up in undermining and disrupting the normal economic life of Palestinian people and also empowering these extremist militants there in Gaza. That is not in the interest of Israel, it is not in the interest of people in the region and it’s not in the interest of anybody in the international community.

Q: But they don’t care. Are you going to take any further steps like recommending to the Security Council to come forward – any new resolution in this regard?

SG: The Quartet in its statement said that they will monitor the situation and will take into consideration any additional steps if necessary, and we will continue to monitor the situation. And I have very sincerely and strongly urged the Israeli Government to take urgent measures to ease such closures and open crossings, and urge them to have longer perspectives for the future.

Q: Mr. Secretary-General, do you think that lifting the blockade in Gaza can be played with this, with some tolerance from the Palestinians for the new settlement?

SG: I’m not sure about all this. However, easing the sanctions that they are [placing], the closures, and opening crossings — that should be done without any preconditions on humanitarian grounds.

Q: Mr. Secretary-General, it was remarkable that you added Iran in the Middle East context, that you addressed the issue of Iran. Do you believe that the issue of Iran should be addressed in the Middle East context, the whole Arab-Israeli conflict?

SG: There are many regional dynamics in the Middle East. The Iranian issue is one of them. It has become international consensus that this is the one which must be addressed now. All the Member States of the international community have deep concern on the nuclear development programme. The Iranian authorities, according to the IAEA [International Atomic Energy Agency], have not been able to verify the true nature and scope of their nuclear development programme, that it is genuinely for peaceful purposes. That should be verified and proven by international community, and the burden is on them. At the same time, the negotiations should continue. Iranians should return to negotiations with the EU 3 + 3 and IAEA has made a good proposal and EU 3 + 3 also, their proposal is now something which needs to be given serious consideration by the Iranian authorities. I again urge that this issue should be resolved peacefully, through dialogue, as soon as possible.

Thank you very much. Thank you.

It is time for America to play hard ball with the Israeli’s, there comes a time when you have to say enough is enough.  Perhaps it is the stain of the holocaust and the atrocities that occurred that makes us feel protective of Israel, but I think we have created a spoiled child, we have raised this child with no boundaries, never told this child no, always held their hand and assured them they were “special”.

The fact is a Jewish soul is no more special, than an American soul, than a Palestinian soul, than a Muslim soul, a Buddhist soul, Christian soul… or any other living being’s soul.  It is time for Israel to either grow up and come to the table prepared to do what is right, or it is time for the US to break those “special ties”, including the purse strings.


Source: Political Monkey 2010’s Blog Title Photo: Courtesy Alan Sabrosky
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the ‘Wonders of Pakistan’. The contents of this article too are the sole responsibility of the author(s). WoP will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this post.



You Don’t Pee in My Pool and I Won’t Sh*t in Your Sandbox – III

David Milliband, the British Foreign Secretary says there was “compelling evidence” that Israel has been responsible for misuse of British passports as part of a plot to kill one of the most prominent members of Hamas.

UK Expels Israeli Diplomat


For those of you who think I am digressing from my US political obsession I am not, but the UK actions this Tuesday were significant.  I have deliberately not addressed the Dubai murder mystery, waiting for more factual information or ideas to form..and today I believe that has happened.  First, let’s review what happened in Dubai:

In Jan. of  2010 – Mahmoud al-Mabhouh a member of Hamas was in Dubai, he was found dead in his hotel room.  The Dubai authorities pieced together surveillance tapes and literally showed the assassins from the point of entry to exit, every step of the way was recorded.  (You can view the video here). It reeked of Mossad, the Israeli foreign intelligence agency, yet there was not confirmed proof.  Israel for its part has always refused to confirm or deny any Mossad activities, rather convenient isn’t it?

Turns out there were forged, fraudulent passports involved from a variety of countries, including, but not limited to  Britain, Ireland, France and Australia.   Needless to say these governments were very upset, how did this happen?  Well today, David Milliband, the Foreign Secretary announced that there was “compelling evidence” that Israel was responsible for misuse of British passports as part of a plot to kill a prominent member of Hamas.

He went on to say that given the high quality of the forgery on the passports it was “highly likely” that they were made by a state intelligence service.

“This, together with other enquiries, and the links to Israel established by Soca, [means] we have concluded that there are compelling reasons to believe that Israel was responsible for the misuse of British passports”

Here comes the kicker:  Miliband went on to say the UK government took the matter extremely seriously and had written to the Israeli administration seeking assurances that such misuse would never happen again.

The misuse of UK passports not only presented a hazard to British nationals in the region but also represented a “profound disregard” for the sovereignty of the United Kingdom, the foreign secretary said.

“The fact that this was done by a country that is a friend with significant diplomatic, cultural, business and personal ties to the UK only adds insult to injury. No country or government could stand by in such a situation.”

Guess what the Israeli government has not responded directly, gee really?

He went on to confirm that Britain had demanded the withdrawal of an Israeli diplomat following the “intolerable” use of 12 forged British passports by a hit squad that killed the founder of Hamas’s military wing in Dubai.

Miliband attacked the “profound disregard” for UK sovereignty and said the apparent involvement of a friendly nation “added insult to injury”.

(source http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/israel/7503921/Britain-to-expel-Mossads-man-in-London-over-Dubai-assassination.html, you can also watch Miliband)

Ok, now let’s go across the pond as it were and what is going on in our backyard America?  Guess who’s coming to dinner?  Binyamin Netanyahu.   The Israeli prime minister gave a defiant speech in Washington to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee where he announces that Jersalem is not a settlement but the capital of Israel.  See the video http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/video/2010/mar/23/binyamin-netanyahu-washington-speech

Let’s review:  Jerusalem and its final status is a point of contention in the Palestinian issue.

Let’s review:  Biden was insulted when in Israel trying to jump start the peace process and Israel announced that they would build another 1,600 apartments in East Jerusalm.

Let’s review:  On Jan. 16, General Petreus, you remember him?  The fellow in charge of Afghanistan.  He sent a team of senior miilitary briefers to the US and reported that there was a growing perception among Arab leaders that the U.S. was incapable of standing up to Israel, that CENTCOM’s mostly Arab constituency was losing faith in American promises, that Israeli intransigence on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was jeopardizing U.S. standing in the region.  Read the whole article at http://mideast.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2010/03/14/the_petraeus_briefing_biden_s_embarrassment_is_not_the_whole_story

Let’s Connect the Dots:  We want our troops home, we want out of Afghanistan.  Does anybody disagree?  What is slowing us from making an exit?  Let’s see  according to the guy on the ground he has put his finger right on it, we have to solve the Arab Israeli crisis, and maybe, just maybe we shouldn’t be telling Israel that we are best friends forever, maybe just maybe we should be telling them – you know what…it is not acceptable for you to involve other countries in your James Bond “hits”, it is not acceptable for you to make unilateral inflammatory statements when everybody is trying to save you ass and find some peaceful resolution, you cannot keep pissing in everybody’s pool and not expect somebody to come over and shit in your sandbox!

Of course now we all want to know who this Israeli diplomat was?  Don’t we?  Miliband did not say..but according to the UK newspaper the Telegraph it was…. “A government official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to comment ahead of the statement, says Britain will expel one Israeli diplomat. Sources disclosed that the individual is MOSSAD’S London representative.


Source: Political Monkey 2010’s Blog
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the ‘Wonders of Pakistan’. The contents of this article too are the sole responsibility of the author(s). WoP will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this post.



Censored by The Huffington Post: “What Really Happened on September 11th?” – II

It’s worth noting that Huffington Post while censoring this piece by Ventura already ran an excerpt from another chapter of American Conspiracies, about the US “war on drugs,” and they had no problem with that subject.



Here now is a brief from Prisonplanet.com on Ventura’s disputed article:

As I noted in an item yesterday, Jesse Ventura has a new book out, co-authored with Dick Russell, called American Conspiracies, which includes an excellent chapter on election fraud and its connection to the likely murder of Mike Connell.

Well, this morning, Jesse had a front-page piece on 9/11 up at HuffPost: a front-page piece that quickly slipped off that front page–and then completely disappeared.

Here’s what you’ll find there now (or will, until they take that down as well):

Jesse Ventura
Author, American Conspiracies
Posted: March 9, 2010 11:00 AM

Editor’s Note: The Huffington Post’s editorial policy, laid out in our blogger guidelines, prohibits the promotion and promulgation of conspiracy theories — including those about 9/11. As such, we have removed this post.

All that’s up there now are the comments left by 65 of HuffPost’s readers.

It’s worth noting that HuffPost already ran an excerpt from another chapter of American Conspiracies, about the US “war on drugs,” and they had no problem with that subject.

But this one is, as we all know, taboo. Clearly, even to question the official story of 9/11 is to engage in “conspiracy theories” (as if the official story weren’t itself a “conspiracy theory,” and a preposterous one at that).

Such is always the response of the US mainstream media (the foreign media tends to be more open-minded)–and it’s also the response of our left/liberal media, as this amazing act of censorship makes clear.

So here is the offending piece. Please read it; and let’s all try to locate the particular points that are so obviously wild and baseless that HuffPost had to kill the whole piece instantly…

You didn’t see anything about it in the mainstream media, but two weeks ago at a conference in San Francisco, more than one thousand architects and engineers signed a petition demanding that Congress begin a new investigation into the destruction of the three World Trade Center skyscrapers on 9/11.

That’s right, these people put their reputations in potential jeopardy – because they don’t buy the government’s version of events. They want to know how 200,000 tons of steel disintegrated and fell to the ground in 11 seconds. They question whether the hijacked planes were responsible – or whether it could have been a controlled demolition from inside that brought down the Twin Towers and Building 7.

Richard Gage, a member of the American Institute of Architects and the founder of Architects and Engineers for 9-11 Truth, put it like this: “The official Federal Emergency Management [Agency] and National Institute of Standards and Technology reports provide insufficient, contradictory and fraudulent accounts of the circumstances of the towers’ destruction.” He’s especially disturbed by Building 7, whose 47 stories came down in “pure free-fall acceleration” that afternoon – even though it was never hit by an aircraft.

This is a subject I take up in my new book, American Conspiracies, published this week by Skyhorse.   An excerpt follows:

Some people have argued that the twin towers went down, within a half hour of one another, because of the way they were constructed. Well, those 425,000 cubic yards of concrete and 200,000 tons of steel were designed to hold up against a Boeing 707, the largest plane built at the time the towers were completed in 1973. Analysis had shown that a 707 traveling at 600 miles an hour (and those had four engines) would not cause major damage. The twin-engine Boeing 757s that hit on 9/11 were going 440 and 550 miles an hour.

Still, we are told that a molten, highly intense fuel mixture from the planes brought down these two steel-framed skyscrapers. Keep in mind that no other such skyscraper in history had ever been known to collapse completely due to fire damage. So could it actually have been the result of a controlled demolition from inside the buildings? I don’t claim expertise about this, but I did work four years as part of the Navy’s underwater demolition teams, where we were trained to blow things to hell and high water.

And my staff talked at some length with a prominent physicist, Steven E. Jones, who says that a “gravity driven collapse” without demolition charges defies the laws of physics. These buildings fell, at nearly the rate of free-fall, straight down into their own footprint, in approximately ten seconds. An object dropped from the roof of the 110-story-tall towers would reach the ground in about 9.2 seconds. Then there’s the fact that steel beams that weighed as much as 200,000 pounds got tossed laterally as far as 500 feet.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) started its investigation on August 21, 2002.  When their 10,000-page-long report came out three years later, the spokesman said there was no evidence to suggest a controlled demolition. But Steven E. Jones also says that molten metal found underground weeks later is proof that jet fuel couldn’t have been all that was responsible. I visited the site about three weeks after 9/11, with Governor Pataki and my wife Terry.  It didn’t mean anything to me at the time, but they had to suspend digging that day because they were running into heat pockets of huge temperatures. These fires kept burning for more than three months, the longest-burning structure blaze ever. And this was all due to jet fuel? We’re talking molten metal more than 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit.

Probably the most conclusive evidence about a controlled demolition is a research paper (two years, nine authors) published in the peer-reviewed Open Chemical Physics Journal, in April 2009. In studying dust samples from the site, these scientists found chips of nano-thermite, which is a high-tech incendiary/explosive. Here’s what the paper’s lead author, Dr. Niels Harrit of the University of Copenhagen’s chemistry department, had to say about the explosive that he’s convinced brought down the Twin Towers and the nearby Building 7:

“Thermite itself dates back to 1893. It is a mixture of aluminum and rust-powder, which react to create intense heat. The reaction produces iron, heated to 2500 degrees Centigrade. This can be used to do welding. It can also be used to melt other iron.  So in nano-thermite, this powder from 1893 is reduced to tiny particles, perfectly mixed. When these react, the intense heat develops much more quickly. Nano-thermite can be mixed with additives to give off intense heat, or serve as a very effective explosive. It contains more energy than dynamite, and can be used as rocket fuel.”

Richard Gage is one of hundreds of credentialed architects and structural engineers who have put their careers on the line to point out the detailed anomalies and many implications of controlled demolition in the building collapses. As he puts it bluntly: “Once you get to the science, it’s indisputable.”

THE END. Below is once again the response that the HuffPost put up after censoring the article and as of today, the 24th March 2010 it still stands so.
Editor’s Note: The Huffington Post’s editorial policy, laid out in our blogger guidelines, prohibits the promotion and promulgation of conspiracy theories — including those about 9/11. As such, we have removed this post.


Source: Mathaba
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the ‘Wonders of Pakistan’. The contents of this article too are the sole responsibility of the author(s). WoP will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this post.



Censored by The Huffington Post: “What Really Happened on September 11th?“

Even questioning the events of September 11th is too much for the Huffington Post, thought of by many as a progressive news source.



[Note for WoP readers: Huffington Post is considered a progressive medium, in contrast to the mainstream media; who day and night publish / project news, views, features, issues, every thing from a particular angle, a set mindset all aimed to motivate their readers to be carried away with all what they want them to. Much to my astonishment and other readers of this publication, the management decided to refuse Jesse Ventura’s upcoming post.

Now had Ventura been a young journalist, a novice seeking to gain a foothold in the realm of journalism by bringing up some sensational news item or digging out a scandal to become popular overnight, I would have thought the HuffPost guys are smart enough to sift facts from faction. But Jesse is not a young amateurish intern in journalism. Here is a brief, excerpted from Wikipedia on this seasoned man and his achievements. [Nayyar]

James George Janos[1] (born July 15, 1951), best known as Jesse “The Body” Ventura, is an American politician, previous governor of Minnesota, retired professional wrestler and color commentator, Navy UDT veteran, actor, and former radio and television talk show host.

As a professional wrestler, he is best known for his tenure in the World Wrestling Federation as a wrestler and color commentator. In 2004, he was inducted into the company’s Hall of Fame.[1]

In the Minnesota gubernatorial election of 1998, running as an Independent and member of the Reform Party, he was elected the 38th Governor of Minnesota and served from January 4, 1999 to January 6, 2003 without seeking a second term.


In a May 11, 2009 interview with Larry King, Ventura twice stated that George W. Bush was the worst president of his lifetime, addingPresident Obama inherited something I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. You know? Two wars, an economy that’s borderline depression.”[51] On the issue of waterboarding, Ventura added:

[I]t’s a good thing I’m not president because I would prosecute every person that was involved in that torture. I would prosecute the people that did it. I would prosecute the people that ordered it. Because torture is against the law. …

[Waterboarding] is drowning. It gives you the complete sensation that you are drowning. It is no good, because you — I’ll put it to you this way, you give me a water board, Dick Cheney and one hour, and I’ll have him confess to the Sharon Tate murders. … If it’s — if it’s done wrong, you certainly could drown. You could swallow your tongue. You could do a whole bunch of stuff. If it’s it done wrong or — it’s torture, Larry. It’s torture.[52]

Ventura then stated that he had no respect for Dick Cheney because he is “a guy who got five deferments from the Vietnam War. Clearly, he’s a coward. He wouldn’t go when it was his time to go. And now he is a chickenhawk. Now he is this big tough guy who wants this hardcore policy. And he’s the guy that sanctioned all this torture by calling it ‘enhanced interrogation’.”[52]

Ventura also expressed interest in being appointed ambassador to Cuba should U.S. relations with Cuba continue to improve.[53] On a May 18, 2009 appearance on The View, Ventura asked Elisabeth Hasselbeck if waterboarding is acceptable, why were not Oklahoma City bombers, Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols waterboarded.

“We only seem to waterboard Muslims.”[54] Comparing the waterboarding of detainees to the North Vietnamese torture of American P.O.W.s, Ventura asserted, “We created our own Hanoi Hilton in Guantánamo. That’s our Hanoi Hilton.[54] “‘Enhanced interrogation’ is Dick Cheney changing a word. Dick Cheney changed a word to cover his ass.”[54]

On May 20, 2009, Ventura appeared on Fox & Friends. When Brian Kilmeade told Ventura that he would stop supporting waterboarding when “they’re dead”, Ventura responded, “Really? Have you enlisted? Have you enlisted or are you just talking?… Go walk the walk, don’t talk the talk.”[55]


In April and May 2008, Jesse Ventura, in several radio interviews for his new book, Don’t Start the Revolution Without Me, expressed concerns about what he described as some of the unanswered questions of the September 11 attacks.[56] His remarks about the possibility that the World Trade Center was demolished with explosives were also repeated in newspaper and television stories following some of the interviews.[57]

Ventura was interviewed on the Alex Jones radio show on April 2, 2008[58] where he said that he felt that many unanswered questions remain, and he believes that World Trade Center Building 7, which was not struck by a plane, collapsed on the afternoon of 9/11 in a manner which resembled a well executed controlled demolition[59] Ventura stated:

How could this building just implode into its own footprint five hours later? That’s my first question. […] The 9/11 Commission didn’t even devote one page to that in their big volume of investigation.[60]

He also states the Twin Towers appeared to be pulverized to dust, that they fell at virtually free-fall speed, and that no other massive steel-framed buildings had ever collapsed in this manner due to fire before.[57]

On May 18, 2009, when asked by Sean Hannity of Fox News, how George W. Bush could have avoided the attacks of September 11, 2001, Ventura answered, “Well, you pay attention to memos on August 6th that tell you exactly what bin Laden‘s gonna do.”[61]


Main article: Conspiracy Theory with Jesse Ventura

In August 2009, it was announced that Ventura would host TruTV‘s new show Conspiracy Theory with Jesse Ventura.[62] “Ventura will hunt down answers, plunging viewers into a world of secret meetings, midnight surveillance, shifty characters and dark forces,” truTV said in a statement. On the program, which debuted on December 2, 2009, Ventura travels the country, investigating cases and getting input from believers and skeptics before passing judgment on a theory’s validity.[63] According to TruTV, the first episode drew 1.6 million viewers, a record for a new series on the network. Contd…




Israel – or You Don’t Pee in My Pool and I Won’t Sh*t in Your Sandbox -II

·Ok, I know it isn’t a nice visual, it isn’t meant to be.  This middle east peace process has been going on for decades.  One has to wonder if nobody has informed Israel?

Israel – or You Don’t Pee in My Pool and I Won’t Sh*t in Your Sandbox


Early this month V.P. Joe Biden was in Israel trying to jump start the peace process, and what should Israel announce while Biden is there?  A plan to expand another 1,600 homes in occupied East Jerusalem.  Diplomatic faux paux or a deliberate snub at the US?  I find it hard to believe that was just bad timing.    Benjamin Netanyahu is not a man likely to be uninformed about what announcements are coming out regarding the hot topic of settlement issues.

I have to give the Obama administration credit, they took Israel to task, unlike the previous Bush administration who gave Israel carte blanche.    Hillary Clinton had a tense phone call with Netanyahu in which aides say she demanded a reversal of the decision on the East Jerusalem settlements and additional gestures by Israel to the Palestinians to demonstrate its seriousness about negotiations.

In his first public remarks on what Israeli commentators called his most serious crisis with Washington since taking office a year ago, he gave no sign he would meet Palestinian demands to cancel a project for 1,600 new settler homes.

“I suggest not to get carried away and to calm down,” Netanyahu told his cabinet, after a reprimand by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and written statements issued by the prime minister’s office that failed to calm the dispute.

“There was a regrettable incident here, that occurred innocently,” Netanyahu said, referring to an announcement by a government ministry during a visit last week by Vice President Joe Biden, of planned construction in an area of the West Bank that Israel has annexed to Jerusalem.

The timing of the disclosure, after Palestinians agreed to indirect peace talks, embarrassed Biden and raised questions over whether Israel’s settlement policy could harm U.S.-Israeli security cooperation on the question of Iran.

“It was hurtful and certainly it should not have happened,” Netanyahu said of the announcement by the Interior Ministry, controlled by the religious Shas party, a member of a governing coalition dominated by pro-settler parties, including his own.


Source: Political Monkey 2010’s Blog
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the ‘Wonders of Pakistan’. The contents of this article too are the sole responsibility of the author(s). WoP will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this post.



Israel – or You Don’t Pee in My Pool and I Won’t Sh*t in Your Sandbox – I

Once upon a time there was a treaty by the United Nations – Non Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.  Guess who has never signed it?  Israel.

Israel – or You Don’t Pee in My Pool and I Won’t Sh*t in Your Sandbox


Last month Sec. of State Hillary Clinton had been doing a middle east tour where she called for a nuclear free middle east, and of course Iran is playing the game..and guess who else is playing?  Israel.

Once upon a time there was a treaty by the United Nations – Non Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. Guess who has never signed it?  Israel.  For years Israel has refused to discuss it’s nuclear capabilities, although it is generally accepted that they are a nuclear state.    Does that not beg the question why do we, as the US or anybody in the rest of the world not demand that Israel disclose what they do or do not have, particularly in light of Iran claiming to be a nuclear state.

The Middle East is a simmering keg – and some nukes in there and see if the entire world doesn’t feel the heat.  Not that I have any particular love for the Iranian regime (let’s be honest Ahmadinejad is an idiot, and I fully support the Iranian people in their rebellion) but at least they are admitting they have the capabilities.   Just in time to turn up the heat Israel shows their new drone which can fly up to 20 hours, a not too subtle hint to Iran that we can reach you…there is a lot of saber rattling going on, makes one wonder who is going to call whose (or should that be whoms) bluff.

I also think that in light of the financial help the US directly gives Israel they should at least come clean with their nuclear capabilities..here are some interesting facts and figures..I mean after all we bought the information one way or another.Total direct aid to Israel, 1948-2003$89.9 billion (uncorrected for inflation)

    • Since 1976 Israel has been the largest annual recipient of US aid. It is the largest cumulative recipient since World War II.
    • Direct U.S. aid for each Israeli citizen in 2001 (per capita annual income of Israel = $16,710) — over $500
    • Direct U.S. Aid for each Ethiopian citizen in 2001 (per capita annual income of Ethiopia = $100) — about $.45
    • $2.76 billion military aid grant
    • $2.1 billion economic support funds
    • $600 million refugee resettlement grant
    • $2 billion
    • Military aid grant $1 billion
    • Commercial loan guarantees $9 billion
    • Arrow missile development $60 million
    • TOTAL AID FOR FY 2003 $14.82 billion
    • Percentage of U.S. foreign aid that goes to Israel — 30%
    • Israel’s population as a percentage of world population — .01%
    • Section 116 of the Foreign Assistance Act (FAA) states, “No assistance may be provided under this part to the government of any country which engages in a consistent pattern of gross violations of internationally recognized human rights.” 22 U.S.C. 2304(a)
    • Section 4 of the Arms Export Control Act prohibits selling military equipment to countries that use them for non-self-defense purposes.
    • The U.S. State Department determined in February 2001 that Israel has committed each of the acts that the law defines as “gross violations of internationally recognized human rights, including torture or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment, prolonged detention without charges and trial, causing the disappearance of persons by the abduction and clandestine detention of those persons, and other flagrant denials of the right to life, liberty, or the security of person.” It described Israeli army use of live ammunition against Palestinians when soldiers were not in impending danger as “excessive use of force.”
SOURCES: Clyde R. Mark, Israel: U.S. Foreign Assistance,  Congressional Research Service, updated April 1, 2003; Clyde R. Mark,  Middle East: U.S. Foreign Assistance, FY 2001, FY 2002, FY 2003 Congressional Research Service, March 28, 2002

Sometimes I am quite confident that I am the only person in the world that doesn’t have direct access to a bomb.


Source: Public Monkey 2010 Blog
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the ‘Wonders of Pakistan’. The contents of this article too are the sole responsibility of the author(s). WoP will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this post.



How to rule India: Break it into more pieces?

Pro-Telangana supporters hold flags and celebrate in the southern Indian city of Hyderabad Dec. 10, 2009. Following violent protests, the government will carve a new state out of southern Andhra Pradesh, a move likely to fuel more statehood demands. Photo: Krishnendu Halder / Reuters




byIshaan Tharoor


In mid-October 1952, an acolyte of Mahatma Gandhi named Potti Sriramulu invoked the tactics of his teacher and went on a hunger strike. The nation of India — at the time just five years old — was still finding shape after centuries of division and colonial rule, with many of its diverse regions clamoring for greater political recognition. Sriramulu’s fast came on behalf of tens of millions who, like him, spoke Telugu, a prominent south Indian language, and wanted their own state within the country. (more…)

Ditching our strategic depth!

“The human factor will decide the fate of war, of all wars. Not the Mirage, nor any other plane, and not the screwdriver, or the wrench or radar or missiles or all the newest technology and electronic innovations. Men—and not just men of action, but men of thought…


Myra MacDonald


Kamran Shafi has a column up at Dawn mocking Pakistan’s old strategy of seeking “strategic depth” – the idea that in the event of war with India its military would be able to operate from Afghanistan to offset its disadvantage as a small country compared to its much bigger neighbour:

“Let us presume that the Indians are foolish enough to get distracted from educating their people, some of whom go to some of the best centres of learning in the world. Let us assume that they are idiotic enough to opt for war instead of industrialising themselves and meeting their economic growth targets which are among the highest in the world. Let us imagine that they are cretinous enough to go to war with a nuclear-armed Pakistan and effectively put an immediate and complete end to their multi-million dollar tourism industry. Let us suppose that they lose all sense, all reason, and actually attack Pakistan and cut our country into half.

“Will our army pack its bags and escape into Afghanistan? How will it disengage itself from the fighting? What route will it use, through which mountain passes? Will the Peshawar Corps gun its tanks and troop carriers and trucks and towed artillery and head into the Khyber Pass, and on to Jalalabad? Will the Karachi and Quetta Corps do likewise through the Bolan and Khojak passes? And what happens to the Lahore and Sialkot and Multan and Gujranwala and Bahawalpur and other garrisons? What about the air force? Far more than anything else, what about the by now 180 million people of the country? What ‘strategic depth’ do our Rommels and Guderians talk about, please? What poppycock is this?

“More importantly, how can Afghanistan be our ‘strategic depth’ when most Afghans hate our guts, not only the northerners, but even those who call themselves Pakhtuns?”

Pakistan’s policy of seeking strategic depth in Afghanistan has been up for discussion since 9/11, when it was forced to abandon the Taliban regime it had backed to try to contain Indian influence there and give itself the space that it felt was so lacking on its eastern border. I have heard Pakistanis saying it was a stupid idea; others saying that even within the Pakistan Army there was a recognition that strategic depth nowadays was best achieved through building a strong domestic economy. Unlike 1971, when Pakistan was cut in two after Bangladesh, then East Pakistan, won independence with Indian military support, the notion that it might be split in half by an Indian offensive pretty much became outdated when both countries announced they had tested nuclear weapons in 1998.

So is Shafi tilting at windmills? Attacking an idea that belonged to the last century?

Not entirely. Strategic depth has become ingrained in the narrative of relations between India, Pakistan and Afghanistan — so taken for granted that I remember being rather surprised myself when a subeditor, quite rightly, asked me to explain what it meant. It may no longer apply in the pure military sense of providing a space to which the army can fall back and where reserves and supplies can be stored, but as a theoretical and emotional concept it lingers. (That is presumably why Shafi felt the need to bury it, since he must have heard the various incarnations of the debate on strategic depth far more than most of us.)

As a concept it continues to inform India and Pakistan’s approach to Afghanistan in ways that are likely to become increasingly important as the United States prepares to start winding down its military presence there in 2011.  India has expanded its involvement in Afghanistan since the fall of the Taliban, and Pakistan in turn is seen as unwilling to tackle the Afghan Taliban as long as it believes it might need to use them to counter Indian influence there.

Both India and Pakistan say they have legitimate interests in Afghanistan. For India, Afghanistan is part of its near-neighbourhood; it has historical relations with the Afghans and it does not see why Pakistani “sensitivity” should stop it from pursuing its commercial and political interests there. For Pakistan, Afghanistan is a potentially difficult neighbour which has never recognised the Durand Line, the British colonial legacy which fixed the border between the two countries, and where Indian involvement only complicates an already delicate situation.  Both India and Pakistan tend to see each other’s role in Afghanistan as part of a zero sum game, their view of each other’s intentions informed by six decades of distrust and the festering Kashmir dispute.

I’ll come back to this subject in more detail later, but in the meantime it is worth asking what we mean by strategic depth.  Does the expression need to be ditched altogether, or simply redefined?


Source: http://blogs.reuters.com/Pakistan/india Title Image: www.jewcy.com
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the ‘Wonders of Pakistan’. The contents of this article too are the sole responsibility of the author(s). WoP will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this post.



Pakistan’s Delusional “Holy Warrior”

‘The demagogues such as Zaid Hamid are playing their game unchecked and unchallenged. The political and military leadership is being painted as a traitor for fighting militancy” [a lead story published in the daily Dawn].


by Kamran Shafi

The crazy Right and rump Pakistan

I was to regale you with other stories to do with our security establishment’s tortured and seemingly futile hunt for the very elusive holy grail of strategic depth in Afghanistan (I ask you) this week, but the ever-increasing assault on our poor country and its innocent people by unlettered and brainwashed and murderous yahoos leads me elsewhere.

Who saw clips of the unintentional video shot by a shocked bystander who burst into uncontrolled moans as he filmed the Yahoo blow himself up and tens of others with him, limbs and blood and gore flying in all directions?

Well, I did, and while one has almost been inured to such scenes, the live images were shocking in the extreme and outraged me more and more every time they were repeated. Not for long though, because soon the scenes began to be censored, the more gory parts cut out of the film. Bad move by whoever for the people at large must be shown the extent of the bestiality and the brutishness of the yahoos who are lionised by some politicians for their own narrow political ends.

Lahore has been attacked twice inside of a week, the attacks killing scores of people and injuring and maiming many more. The intelligence agencies failed all ends up yet again, and as per usual, specially the premier agency aka the Mother of All Agencies which seems to have its finger in every matter — from disappearing people to formulating the country’s foreign policy to destabilising the government whenever it is perceived to be stepping ‘out of line’ — except in running the yahoos to the ground and nipping their evil in the bud.

You might well ask what I mean by the title of this piece. Simple: the Crazy Right are the successors of the Crush India Brigade of the late 1960s and early 1970s which gave us the Bangladesh tragedy (which of course had other reasons too); rump Pakistan is the country we are left with after the breakup of Pakistan as a result of the exertions of the crazy Right. They might well succeed yet again.

[Left: Zaid (Zaman) Hamid, the present high priest of the crazy Right]

Here is the present high priest of the crazy Right, one Zaid (Zaman) Hamid, reportedly speaking on something called ‘Ummah Radio’: “Pakistan is in the headlines again! Oh people! Know that it is a combined action of RAW and Mossad to dismantle the divinely placed concrete foundations of the house of the pure, the feared fort of Islam. We are a nation which is like a glittering star of guidance for the crescent of the whole Muslim world, the pioneer of the creation of the green united states of Islam in the world that is drowning in the sea of ignorance.

“Oh Muslims! Always hold on to truth, and the truth is that it is yet again a Zionist-controlled western media’s conspiracy. Let’s rise up against the enemies of Islam; let’s nuke the … Hindus and Jews, the nefarious dark forces of this planet. Insha’allah, the time for shahadat is near. My sons and daughters, get ready for the big day, the promised day when Allah will make the Muslims victorious and Jews will run here and there to find shelter. Even the trees will talk and will say: ‘these sons of apes and swines are hiding behind my trunk’.

“Rise up and get ready for the mass suicide. Great nations die for a noble cause. What is more nobler than wiping the enemies of Islam from the face of this earth?

Remember, Islam is a peaceful religion. Allah commands us to take care of each other. All are equal in the eyes of Allah. Slay them with your daggers. …Islam will rule the world….”. The transmission is interrupted. Announcer: “We are trying to re-establish the connection with our great leader, meanwhile we will ask Qari Bakir to recite ‘Surah Tauba’.”

If this doesn’t make your blood run cold and infuriate you all at once, dear reader, I don’t know what will. Can you and I ask why this person is allowed to go on with his increasingly violent rants aimed at the huge numbers of unemployed, half-educated youths who have nothing to do in a country that is essentially a security state and which, instead of creating job opportunities for these vulnerable targets for the spreaders of poison, spends most of its money on toys and more toys for the boys, and more and more luxurious perks for its generals?

Surely spreading hate against other religions is against the law? Surely calling for mass suicide is against the law? Surely advocating nuking the hell out of another country is a crime against humanity itself? Why, then, is this man not prosecuted?

Why does the federal government not get the Federal Bureau of Revenue to investigate the sources of this person’s income, which must be huge judging from the campaigns he mounts, to see who exactly keeps him in big money? Why does the judiciary, which seems to be hell-bent on just pursuing the federal government’s leaders, not take suo motu notice of this man’s dangerous spoutings?

We must recall immediately too that some days ago this person was hosted in Peshawar by Governor Owais Ghani and sent amidst official protocol to speak at Islamia College University where he was not allowed to speak by the Pakhtun Students Union and the Amn Tehrik and was sent scurrying back to the comfort of the governor’s bosom.

Why, pray, is the federal government’s representative in Peshawar trying to smooth the way for this purveyor of hatred? Why is he mollycoddling this man who is attempting to lead the country’s disaffected young astray?

Our country is at great risk, my friends, for no one seems to have learnt any lessons at all. I fear it will face even more grief in the coming days while our politicians leap off the cliff like lemmings.


Source: Dawn, Cross posted at : There are no sunglasses
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the ‘Wonders of Pakistan’. The contents of this article too are the sole responsibility of the author(s). WoP will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this post.



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The End of the Indo-American Delusion!

India out of the loop on Af-Pak

Chidanand Rajghatta, TNN

The atmospherics are good but the ground realities are unfavourable. India is struggling to stay relevant and advance its geo-political equities with the United States at a time Washington is buffeted by domestic pressures and international crises that are undercutting its resolve to put ties with New Delhi on a higher plane.

Good intentions, broad agenda, and packed schedules notwithstanding, Indian diplomatic foray into Washington this week was notable for gripes and grievances than any significant advancement towards the stated goal of achieving a strategic relationship with the US, foreign secretary Nirupama Rao had a series of meetings on Tuesday, including a drop-in by secretary of state Hillary Clinton at a state department meeting with her counterpart William Burns, but in the end there was no meeting of minds on the most fundamental security issue of the times.

India and US disagree on Afghanistan and Pakistan. That much became clear towards the end of the foreign secretary’s visit although elaboration on this issue was foiled by the cancellation of Rao’s wrap-up press meet (Indian Embassy said she was unwell).

At a time when Washington is searching for an exit strategy from the Af-Pak region, a statement released at the end of her visit (in lieu of the cancelled press conference) tersely noted that “she (Rao) reiterated India’s long-held position that it was important for the international community to stay the present course in Afghanistan for as long as it is necessary.” The international community on the other hand wants to get the hell out of Afghanistan — yesterday.

There were other unresolved issues. Rao’s engagement was also partly torpedoed by the withdrawal by the government of the nuclear liability bill in Parliament hours after her arrival here. As a result, there was little progress on tying up loose ends of the civilian nuclear deal including an agreement on reprocessing although there were brave words about the deal being on track and on schedule.

Most notably, on the issue of high-tech cooperation, the Indian side was still pleading for removal of some its organizations from the so-called Entities List, seven years after the establishment of the group. “The Indian side requested the US department of commerce to review US export controls applicable to India and update them to bring them in keeping with the changed political realities that contextualize India-US strategic partnership today,” the concluding statement said.

To say India has become a mere sideshow in Washington would be overstating it (besides meeting Clinton, Rao also called on the NSA Jim Jones and two key lawmakers on a day Washington was awash with the health care issue and the US-Israel spat). There were important advances in bilateral matters, including setting the stage for external affairs minister S M Krishna’s visit to Washington shortly leading in turn to President Obama’s visit to New Delhi later this year.

But on the Af-Pak issue, India is clearly out of the loop. Pakistan is again the new game in town. Even as the Indian foreign secretary made the rounds of a capital in political and legislative ferment (over the health care bill), diplomatic corridors were abuzz with Afghan president Hamid Karzai’s own outreach to the Taliban through his brothers and Pakistan’s effort to impose itself on that engagement.

Rao meanwhile was telling think-tankers that Taliban remained untouchables for New Delhi. India’s gripe about US arms to Pakistan also went largely unaddressed. In fact, even as Rao was complaining about the potential use by Pakistan of US-supplied weapons against India, Washington had delivered from its base in Jordan a squadron of 14 AH-1 Cobra advanced helicopter gunships to Pakistan.


Source: There are no sunglasses Title image: Blogs.reuters.com
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the ‘Wonders of Pakistan’. The contents of this article too are the sole responsibility of the author(s). WoP will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this post.



India-Pakistan conundrum

Experts have predicted that future wars will be fought over water. States within India, like Punjab and Sindh in Pakistan, are continuously at each other’s throats because of this scarce natural resource.

Dr. Manzur Ejaz

Pakistan, with a regressing economy, cannot keep up with Indian defence outlays even on proportional basis. Therefore, Pakistan has no choice but to detract and pull India back through other means

Like many last decades, the recent Indo-Pak talks in Delhi did not make any breakthrough. As usual, they provided the forum for both countries to restate their positions. The US can force the horse to the water, but cannot make it drink. As a matter of fact, Indo-Pak reconciliation is becoming more difficult every passing year because of increasing scarcity of water, a mutual desire to pull the other side down, and conflicts riddling societies in both countries. Sometimes it appears that keeping the tensions up serves both sides.

Pakistan was adamant to put the Kashmir and water issues on the agenda, while India was mainly interested in terrorism originating from Pakistan. For Pakistan, the territory of Kashmir may not be as important as the water issue. If the Pakistani claims are valid, then Indian infringements into the rivers running from its territory into Pakistan will leave major parts of Pakistan barren. Agriculture is not possible in Punjab and Sindh without river water. Therefore, unless Pakistan is assured on the supply of water, it will never abandon the proxies that can keep India on its toes by destabilising Kashmir.

Many world experts have predicted that future wars will be fought over water. States within India, like Punjab and Sindh in Pakistan, are continuously at each other’s throats because of this scarce natural resource. If federating units within India and Pakistan cannot forgo their claims, how will the two hostile nations? Therefore, the Indo-Pak dispute over water in the garb of the Kashmir problem is not unique and will not go away unless credible international organisations provide effective guarantees.

Besides the real issue of water, future scenarios are also an unending source of tension. India is growing fast and may want to leave Pakistan behind so that the competition between the two neighbours becomes irrelevant.

Following the Reagan strategy against Russia to raise defence expenditures to the level that your enemy breaks down if it tries to compete, India, by military expansion, is forcing Pakistan to follow suit and economically get destroyed.

Pakistan, with a regressing economy, cannot keep up with Indian defence outlays even on proportional basis. Therefore, Pakistan has no choice but to detract and pull India back through other means. Pakistan’s strategy has not worked very well because, despite the Kashmir issue, India has grown steadily. Probably, Pakistan’s military leadership is aware of its unsuccessful strategy and, therefore, trying to strengthen the state institutions to match Indian economic growth. However, it cannot let go of instruments developed to keep India distracted.

Besides the real geographic and economic issues between India and Pakistan, the public opinion in both countries has hardened. The new electronic media, run by not-so-well-groomed people, looks for the easy formula to dub villains in a situation.

The Indian media quickly blames Pakistan for any bomb blast in their country and the Pakistani media reflexively traces the tragic incidents on its territory to an Indian conspiracy. The situation has become so messy that it is hard to tell who is doing what.

The public in both countries accept the media versions because of changing public psyche due to internal conflicts and extreme rightwing forces donning the mantle of patriotism. While Pakistan is fighting the Taliban and other Jihadi outfits, India is also mired in communal, ethnic and guerrilla insurgency.

The Gujarat massacre of Muslims, the Shiv Sena crusade to cleanse Maharashtra and Mumbai of North Indians, and the Maoist guerrilla war are just a few things that have embittered the public psyche. A psyche born out of a constant conflict-ridden atmosphere can easily be turned against other nations.

The right wing’s monopoly over patriotism in Pakistan, a well-entrenched phenomenon, has been replicated in India. The rise of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), especially the Narendra Modi brand, and the likes of Bal Keshav Thackeray, founder of Shive Sena, have become the standard bearers of national pride. They have pushed the Congress Party to the right as well in pursuit of patriotism.

The decline of communist parties in North India has also been responsible for the unchecked rise of a jingoistic style of nationalism. The dynamics of generating hatred are becoming much more powerful than the forces preaching reconciliation within the country and in the international arena.

Settlement of longstanding issues between India and Pakistan is becoming more difficult than it was in the past. The fight over water with hardening public opinion in both countries is further complicating the situation. No one knows how and where the chips are going to fall.


Source: Wichaar.com Image: rupeenews.com
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the ‘Wonders of Pakistan’. The contents of this article too are the sole responsibility of the author(s). WoP will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this post.



Many are dying for our having hoped Obama would not practice Imperialism

It sounds terribly naive to have hoped a U.S. president whose candidacy was selected and backed by our most powerful bankers would be permitted, just may be, perhaps by virtue of his being black and well spoken, to modify the intense imperialism that has characterized all previous presidencies since, if not including, that of Teddy Roosevelt and before. He said he would bomb Pakistan and he has. He indicated he would be willing to sacrifice men, women and children to assassinate leaders of those warring against American occupations and he has. He said he would, and he did, send more troops to broaden the war against Pashtun Taliban, formerly the Reagan approved and recognized government of Afghanistan. Then how could we befool ourselves to think Obama will be different from his predecessors?


“The empires of the future are the empires of the mind.” –Winston Churchill


by  Jay Janson


In retrospect, does it not sound terribly naive that we would hope a U.S. president whose candidacy was selected and backed by our most powerful bankers would be permitted, just maybe, perhaps by virtue of his being black and well spoken, to modify the intense imperialism that has characterized all previous presidencies since, if not including, that of Teddy Roosevelt and before?

He said he would bomb Pakistan and he has. (more…)

Decade Of The Drone: America’s Aerial Assassins

Contractors handle an MQ-9 Reaper at Kandahar in Afghanistan. The two towers in the background are used to control the aircraft during take-off and landing.


Rick Rozoff


2010 is the last year of the new century and millennium and is the tenth consecutive year of the United States war in Afghanistan and in the 15-nation area of responsibility subsumed under Operation Enduring Freedom.

In early March American military deaths in the Greater Afghan War theater Afghanistan, Cuba (Guantanamo Bay), Djibouti, Eritrea, Jordan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, the Philippines, Seychelles, Sudan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Uzbekistan and Yemen surpassed the 1,000 mark. (more…)

Arresting Taliban to Cover America’s Ass [4 of 4]

American born al Qaeda militant Adam Gadahn. The daily Telegraph of London reports the arrest of Adam Gadahn as a major victory for the US-led battle against al-Qaeda and follows the recent detentions of several Afghan Taliban commanders in Karachi, including the movement’s No 2 commander. US officials did not immediately confirm Gadahn’s capture. Photo: REUTERS



by Nayyar Hashmey


I agree with what Peter says in first 3 paragraphs of his story. [You will find these paras before the image of former Guantanamo Bay detainee Binyam Mohamed]

Actually it is a love-hate relationship between US and Pakistan. When interests are in full sync, they turn into love. When, rivalry, though to call it rivalry will  rather be a big word as Pakistan can neither be a rival to America nor it can aspire to, so let’s call it a clash of interests, it then becomes a ‘hate’ relationship. But I personally think it’s all a humbug.

The Pak politicians adopt a posture i.e. of indifference, anti-US or something like a ‘hate’ feeling towards Washington, mostly to avoid a sudden backlash by the people of Pakistan, who never did benefit from Pakistan’s “most allied ally” of the United States of America relationship whether it was the honeymoon period between Washington and Islamabad or was a period of interests’ conflict which in any way never benefited the people.

Our leaders though do orchestrate a massive display of such signs as “Thank you America” when they feel benefited from this relationship and when they feel of being “bossed” by the officials from the State department, then these billboards are replaced  by “Yankees go home” or “Down with America” shoutings and signs. (more…)

These gimmicks can’t bail out America [3 of 4]

The mystery surrounding the recent Pakistani arrests of Afghan Taliban leaders can best be seen in this & the following alleged pictures of Mullah Abdul Salaam.  This one is from the German magazine Der Spiegel.  It may be remembered that the northern Afghan territory of Kunduz is allegedly under Salaam’s command, a district under German NATO troops].



by Peter Chamberlin


The TTP project continued to rain havoc upon Pakistan, forcing the Army to finally take action, even though the local tribes had opposed past military offensives.  The TTP would rain such hell down upon the heads of the innocent people of FATA and the NWFP that they would welcome the Army with open arms and even accept an American drone war in their midst.  Anything, as long as someone got rid of those pesky militants! (more…)

Arresting Taliban to Cover America’s Ass [2 of 4]

Muslim Khan, [one of Pakistan’s most wanted] arrested by Pakistani security forces. Muslim Khan was chief spokesman for the TTP in Swat. He was the first one in the series in which many others Taliban leaders including those from Afghanistan [ fighting against NATO & ISAF forces in Afghanistan] have been arrested by Pakistan.



by Peter Chamberlin


The multitude of theories on the reasons for the arrests are divided between cooperation and confrontation theories, either it is explained by mutual interests or by rivalries.  In my opinion, it is both. (more…)

Comments on Peter Chamberlin’s Article: Arresting Taliban to cover America’s Ass [1 of 4]

According to reports from the western media, Afghan Taliban deputy leader Mullah Abdul Ghani Barodar, image above, was leading peace efforts, after having been released from custody in Pakistan. The reports said: Barodar has been meeting with Taliban commanders in Afghanistan and Pakistan, with security guarantees from both governments and the US.
Four other Pakistan-based Taliban leaders supportive of Barodar are also thought to have been in contact with US authorities, and are reported to have travelled into Afghanistan under NATO escort on several occasions.
But the ISI, Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence said “there is no truth in the fact that Barodar was released recently”. It was amid such conflicting reports that ISI ultimately declared that it indeed had arrested the Mullah, reported to be the deputy commander of the Afghan Taliban.




by Nayyar Hashmey


An Afghan official says two Taliban “shadow governors” from northern Afghanistan have been arrested by Pakistani authorities, including one very senior commander for the militant group in the country’s north. These arrests are the subject of this article written by my friend Peter Chamberlin.  Another friend then asked me to put this article under review and give my own personal opinion].

So here now is this 2 piece article by Peter Chamberlin, followed by my own observations on what has been said- been so meticulously analyzed in his article. As I promised to a friend in absentia (for I have never met him in person, yet he is such a lovable soul, a man with beautiful thoughts and kind wishes for the whole of humanity that you enjoy and benefit having a meaningful dialogue with him). (more…)

China hangs fire on Iran-Pakistan pipeline

Stephen Blank

For over a decade, Iran, Pakistan and India (IPI) have taken pains at negotiating a major pipeline deal whereby Iran would send natural gas from its territory to the region. Yet geopolitical and commercial issues have repeatedly prevented the deal’s fruition despite Tehran’s growing need to diversify gas sales to Asian markets and Asian countries desire to find a stable, reliable source of gas supplies.

In recent years, India’s participation in this project has become more uncertain, which is partly responsible for the long delay that the project has suffered. Iran’s repeated attempts to raise the price of gas, US pressure on India to refrain from participating in the pipeline, external skepticism about Iranian capability to fill the pipeline as it promises, Indian concerns about the overall stability of Pakistan, and in particular, the possibility of terrorism in Pakistan’s Balochistan province through which the pipeline would travel, all contributed to India’s angst.

Iran recently warned India that there is a limit to its patience in waiting for New Delhi to decide. Iran was apparently able to present this ultimatum because it believes that it now has the “China card” in its deck. In early February, Iranian Foreign Minister Manucher Mottaki reportedly said Iran was ready to start the pipeline at any time – even without India – and urged Pakistan not to heed US pressure against the pipeline as China could soon replace India in the deal.


Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad and his Pakistani counterpart, Asif Ali Zardari, signed a US$7.5 billion agreement in Tehran on May 23, 2009, to transfer gas from Iran to Pakistan. According to the deal, Iran will initially transfer 30 million cubic meters of gas per day to Pakistan, but will eventually increase the transfer to 60 million cubic meters per day. The pipeline will be supplied from the South Pars field. The initial capacity of the pipeline will be 22 billion cubic meters (bcm) of natural gas per annum, which is expected to be raised later to 55 bcm.

After many months of negotiations, on February 11, 2010, Islamabad and Tehran were able to finalize the agreement on the issues, including the issuance by Pakistan of a “comfort letter” that provided Iran with the assurance that India – or China – could be brought into the project later. The two parties have vowed to sign the formal agreement by March 8 in Ankara, Turkey. The News reported:

Under the comfort letter, the government of Pakistan would allow the third country to import gas through [the] IP [Iran-Pakistan] line in case any country in future comes to join the project, but the permission will be subject to the gas tariff and transit fee to be worked out as per best practices of that time.


Perhaps the most interesting aspect of Iran’s most recent announcement is that China has yet to comment publicly on the pipeline except that it is studying the Pakistani proposal. That was early in 2008. Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi said at that time: “We are seriously studying Pakistan’s proposal to participate in the IPI gas pipeline project”.

Pakistan clearly wants China to join the pipeline for many reasons. Islamabad desperately needs the gas that might not come if there is no third party to make the deal profitable to Iran. Second, it would gain much revenue from the transit fees for the gas going to China and benefit considerably from the ensuing construction of infrastructure within Pakistan. Third, it would further solidify its “all-weather” relations with China. Those goals have always been part of Pakistan’s foreign policy and explain not only its interest in the original pipeline plan but also its previous invitations to China to join the project. The prospect of an invitation to China was also used in the past to galvanize India’s decision-making process regarding the pipeline.

Throughout the spring of 2008, former Pakistani president General Pervez Musharraf and his government frequently courted Chinese leaders to join the pipeline project, a pitch that Musharraf also tied to an earlier proposal of establishing a corridor linking Pakistan to China through rail, road and fiber optics. At that time, China promised to consider the proposal and then asked for more information, but did nothing else, leaving the issue in abeyance. Subsequently, Pakistani media reports claimed that China was keen on joining the pipeline and would send a delegation to negotiate the deal, but clearly, nothing came of it.

In 2009, Iran’s ambassador to India, Seyid Mehdi Nabizadeh, told Indian journalists that China was interested in the pipeline, but he too refused to confirm if talks with China were taking place. Based on this precedent, it may be possible that these Pakistani and Iranian gambits were spurious to begin with and its purpose was to pressure India or entice China into joining the pipeline project.

The India Factor: The blend of American and Iranian tensions and the tensions between India and Pakistan in a neo-global order has formed a situation for India to ponder over a final decision. India can neither adopt the decision to implement the Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline, nor can she abandon the pipeline because the stakes of energy security and geopolitics are too high for India to be able to afford losing the pipeline.

There is considerable interest among external observers in the pipeline and Chinese officials have sporadically expressed an interest in it. For example, China’s ambassador to India in 2006, Sun Yuxi, said China has no objections to the IPI, while India’s minister for state planning, MV Rajashekaran, also said that once the pipeline is completed it could be extended to China [1]. Gazprom (the Russian gas monopoly) and the Russian government have long since indicated a desire to participate in sending oil and/or gas to the subcontinent through the IPI. Indeed, Gazprom’s man in Tehran, Abubakir Shomuzov, has even advocated extending the IPI pipeline to China to tie Russia, China, India, Pakistan and Iran together in a very big project having major strategic implications as well as a huge number of consumers.

Presumably, such statements – if not plans – are intended to mollify Chinese concerns about the possibility of Russian energy being diverted from it to India. Nevertheless, if one correlates China’s recent maneuvers in Central Asia concerning pipelines with its deals with Iran, it is clear that China is contemplating a pipeline network running from Iran either through Central Asia, or prospectively through Pakistan and/or India to China.

In this context, the IPI pipeline poses several risks and opportunities for Beijing. If India exited the pipeline, that would lessen Iran’s leverage to drive a hard bargain on gas prices. At the same time, as part of the overall strategy to build pipelines from Iran to China, or at least to Gwadar in Balochistan, from where gas or oil could be shipped directly to China, Chinese participation would create a new overland energy link that could complement China’s energy diversification strategy.

Nevertheless, the project also faces several political and logistical difficulties that could scuttle Chinese participation. The pipeline is planned to traverse very difficult terrain in Pakistan’s Gilgit region. That would increase the costs and time required to eventually connect the pipeline to Xinjiang. Moreover, the risks inherent in Pakistan and Iran also pose problems.

The massive investment required to link China to the pipeline would be susceptible to many risks since it falls along a major fault line of political instability; there could be large-scale terrorism in the territory of the pipeline or more generally from a mass civil upheaval in Pakistan. In view of these positive and negative aspects to the deal, some observers suggest that Beijing might just be feigning interest in the IPI pipeline to get a better deal in negotiations with Russia on relatively safer Siberia-China gas pipelines [2].

Certainly the prospect of China obtaining a secure and stable supply of gas from Iran would reduce its need to get that gas from Russia and give it even more leverage over Russia in the current negotiations on gas pipelines from Siberia to China than it already possesses [3].

There is another aspect to this deal. China has recently stuck its neck out for Tehran in its call for continuing negotiations with Iran over its nuclear enrichment programs irrespective of the fact that Tehran is clearly defying the International Atomic Energy Agency and the offers of the six negotiating partners (United States, Great Britain, France, Germany, and Russia). On February 24, 2010, Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang stated that, “China holds that the parties should continue to step up diplomatic efforts in a bid to maintain and promote the process of dialogue and negotiations. China hopes the parties demonstrate more flexibility and create conditions conducive to a comprehensive and proper solution to the Iran nuclear issue through diplomatic means.”

Chinese sources also report that Iran is able to resist the United States because the political situation in Iran is stabilizing. This suggests a more optimistic view of the domestic situation in Iran than might be the case elsewhere. Likewise, it appears that China suspects US motives in the region. High-level visits by US Secretary of Energy Steven Chu to Saudi Arabia and by another high-level Israeli delegation to China aim to wean China away from Iran in return for the United States brokering increased oil exports from Saudi Arabia to China. The Chinese media apparently considers this a trap to get China to renounce its principles for transitory economic gain.


At the same time, if China did become a full partner in the IPI pipeline that would offer it another opportunity to build on Beijing’s so-called strategy of building what has been called a “string of pearls” across the Indian Ocean. Chinese officials have publicly stated their desire to turn the Chinese-built Pakistani port of Gwadar into an energy hub. China also has substantial interests in overland transport links in Pakistan through the Karakorum Highway, and participation in the IP pipeline would extend those interests.

Indeed, many observers in New Delhi and Washington view Sino-Pakistani collaborations to build naval facilities and oil refineries at Gwadar as a prelude to the establishment of a Chinese naval base there. Whether this is true or not, if China joins the IPI project, then the odds of China supporting American efforts to isolate Iran would effectively be reduced to zero because it would depend too much on Iranian gas, in addition to its recent oil contracts to antagonize Iran by siding with Washington [4].

While we wait to see how China decides to play this issue, the United States needs to understand that Beijing’s decision to join or stand aloof from this pipeline will have major geopolitical repercussions and comparable geo-economic repercussions across Asia, another sign not only of the integration of south and southwest Asia with East Asia, but also of China’s rising importance as the nexus of the Asian continent.

Dr Stephen Blank is a professor at the Strategic Studies Institute of the US Army War College at Carlisle Barracks, PA. The views expressed here do not represent those of the US Army, Defense Department, or the US Government.
1. “The Energy Game,” Heartland: Eurasian Review of Geopolitics, November, 2005, http://www.heartland.it 2. Zachary Fillingham, “India, China & the IPI Pipeline,” http://www.geopoliicalmonitor.com, November 5, 2009. 3. Stephen Blank, “Russia’s New Gas Deal With China: Background and Implications,” Northeast Asia Energy Forum, VI, No. 4, Winter, 2009, pp. 16-29. 4. Fillingham, op. cit.


Source: This article first appeared in The Jamestown Foundation & was cross posted at Geoplotical NWO
Related Posts: 1. Energy security, diplomacy and pipeline corridors…all over EURASIA 2. China wins struggle for Pipelinestan 3. Turkmenistan Gas is now flowing to China Overland 5. BALOCHISTAN is the ULTIMATE PRIZE Part 3 of 3 6. Rebranding the Long War: BALOCHISTAN is the ULTIMATE PRIZE Part 2 of 3 7. Rebranding the Long War: BALOCHISTAN is the ULTIMATE PRIZE Part 1 of 3 8. Washington is Playing a Deeper Game with China

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the ‘Wonders of Pakistan’. The contents of this article too are the sole responsibility of the author(s). WoP will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this post.



Can Japan Say No to Washington – III-

Protesters waive banners at a rally  held against the rape of a teenaged Okinawa girl by US marines. Tomohiko Futamata, head of the Hokkaido Defense Bureau said: “We take seriously the unforgivable incident in Okinawa and will strongly request that U.S. soldiers maintain strict discipline”.


Wherever the US military puts down its foot overseas, movements have sprung up to protest the military, social, and environmental consequences of its military bases. This anti-base movement has notched some successes, such as the shut-down of a US navy facility in Vieques, Puerto Rico, in 2003. In the Pacific, too, the movement has made its mark. On the heels of the eruption of Mt Pinatubo, democracy activists in the Philippines successfully closed down the ash-covered Clark Air Force Base and Subic Bay Naval Station in 1991-1992. Later, South Korean activists managed to win closure of the huge Yongsan facility in downtown Seoul.

Of course, these were only partial victories. Washingtonsubsequently negotiated a Visiting Forces Agreement with the Philippines, whereby the US military has redeployed troops and equipment to the island, and replaced Korea’s Yongsan base with a new one in nearby Pyeongtaek. But these not-in-my-backyard (NIMBY) victories were significant enough to help edge the Pentagon toward the adoption of a military doctrine that emphasizes mobility over position. The US military now relies on “strategic flexibility” and “rapid response” both to counter unexpected threats and to deal with allied fickleness.

The Hatoyama government may indeed learn to say no toWashington over the Okinawa bases. Evidently considering this a likelihood, former deputy secretary of state and former US ambassador to Japan Richard Armitage has said that the UnitedStates “had better have a plan B”. But the victory for the anti-base movement will still be only partial. US forces will remain in Japan, and especially Okinawa, and Tokyo will undoubtedly continue to pay for their maintenance.

Buoyed by even this partial victory, however, NIMBY movements are likely to grow in Japan and across the region, focusing on other Okinawa bases, bases on the Japanese mainland, and elsewhere in the Pacific, including Guam. Indeed, protests are already building in Guam against the projected expansion of Andersen Air Force Base and Naval Base Guam to accommodate those Marines from Okinawa. And this strikes terror in the hearts of Pentagon planners.

In World War II, the United States employed an island-hopping strategy to move ever closer to the Japanese mainland. Okinawa was the last island and last major battle of that campaign, and more people died during the fighting there than in the subsequent atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki combined: 12,000 US troops, more than 100,000 Japanese soldiers, and perhaps 100,000 Okinawan civilians. This historical experience has stiffened the pacifist resolve of Okinawans.

The current battle over Okinawa again pits the United States against Japan, again with the Okinawans as victims. But there is a good chance that the Okinawans, like the Na’vi in that great NIMBY film Avatar, will win this time.

A victory in closing Futenma and preventing the construction of a new base might be the first step in a potential reverse island hop. NIMBY movements may someday finally push the US military out of Japan and off Okinawa. It’s not likely to be a smooth process, nor is it likely to happen any time soon. But the kanji (a form ofJapanese writing) is on the wall. Even if the Yankees don’t know what the Japanese characters mean, they can at least tell in which direction the exit arrow is pointing.

Pages 1, 2


John Feffer is the co-director of Foreign Policy in Focus at the Institute for Policy Studies and writes its regular World Beat column. His past essays, including those for TomDispatch.com, can be read at his website [ Copyright 2010 John Feffer].

Source: TomDispatch.com Image: Japanprobe.com
Related Posts: 1. Obama’s Domino Theory 2. Obama wastes no time in finding his own war 3. Obama, the Democratic “War President” (updated) 4. Gorby smarter than Obama
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the ‘Wonders of Pakistan’. The contents of this article too are the sole responsibility of the author(s). WoP will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this post.



Can Japan Say No to Washington? -II-

Over 21,000 people in Okinawa protest to demand the removal of the US bases from the prefecture, criticizing the plan to only relocate the Futenma US air base from its current location of Ginowan City to the Henoko district of Nago City, also in Okinawa. Photo: japan press-weekly



The US military presence in Okinawa is a residue of the Cold War and a US commitment to containing the only military power on the horizon that could threaten American military supremacy. Back in the 1990s, the Bill Clinton administration’s solution to a rising China was to “integrate, but hedge”. The hedge – against the possibility of China developing a serious mean streak – centered around a strengthened US-Japan alliance and a credible Japanese military deterrent.

What the Clinton administration and its successors didn’t anticipate was how effectively and peacefully China would disarm this hedging strategy with careful statesmanship and a vigorous trade policy. A number of Southeast Asian countries, including the Philippines and Indonesia, succumbed early to China’s version of checkbook diplomacy. Then, in the last decade, South Korea, like the Japanese today, started to talk about establishing “more equal” relations with the US in an effort to avoid being drawn into any future military scrape between Washington and Beijing.

Now, with its arch-conservatives gone from government, Japan is visibly warming to China’s charms. In 2007, China had already surpassed the US as the country’s leading trade partner. On becoming prime minister, Hatoyama sensibly proposed the future establishment of an East Asian community patterned on the European Union. As he saw it, that would leverage Japan’s position between a rising China and a United States in decline. In December, while Washington and Tokyo were haggling bitterly over the Okinawa base issue, DPJ leader Ichiro Ozawa sent a signal to Washington as well as Beijing by shepherding a 143-member delegation of his party’s legislators on a four-day trip to China.

Not surprisingly, China’s bedazzlement policy has set off warning bells in Washington, where the People’s Republic is still a focus of primary concern for a cadre of strategic planners inside the Pentagon. The Futenma base – and its potential replacement – would be well situated, should Washington ever decide to send rapid response units to the Taiwan Strait, the South China Sea, or the Korean peninsula. Strategic planners in Washington like to speak of the “tyranny of distance”, of the difficulty of getting “boots on the ground” from Guam or Hawaii in case of an East Asian emergency.

Yet the actual strategic value of Futenma is, at best, questionable. The South Koreans are more than capable of dealing with any contingency on the peninsula. And the UnitedStates frankly has plenty of firepower by air (Kadena) and sea (Yokosuka) within hailing distance of China. A couple thousand Marines won’t make much of a difference (though the leathernecks strenuously disagree). However, in a political environment in whichthe Pentagon is finding itself making tough choices between funding counterinsurgency wars and old Cold War weapons systems, the “China threat” lobby doesn’t want to give an inch.

Failure to relocate the Futenma base within Okinawa might be the first step down a slippery slope that could potentially put at risk billions of dollars in Cold War weapons still in the production line. It’s hard to justify buying all the fancy toys without a place to play with them.

And that’s one reason the Obama administration has gone to the mat to pressure Tokyo to adhere to the 2006 agreement. It even dispatched Secretary of Defense Robert Gates to the Japanesecapital last October in advance of president Obama’s own Asian tour. Like an impatient father admonishing an obstreperous teenager, Gates lectured the Japanese “to move on” and abide by the agreement – to the irritation of both the new government and the public. (See Gates gets grumpy in Tokyo, October 28, 2009)

The punditocracy has predictably closed ranks behind a bipartisanWashington consensus that the new Japanese government should become as accustomed to its junior status as its predecessor and stop making a fuss. The Obama administration is frustrated with “Hatoyama’s amateurish handling of the issue,” writesWashington Post editorial page editor Fred Hiatt. “What has resulted from Mr Hatoyama’s failure to enunciate a clear strategy or action plan is the biggest political vacuum in over 50 years,” adds Victor Cha, former director of Asian affairs at the National Security Council. Neither analyst acknowledges that Tokyo’s only “failure” or “amateurish” move was to stand up to Washington. “The dispute could undermine security in East Asia on the 50th anniversary of an alliance that has served the region well,” intoned The Economist more bluntly. “Tough as it is for Japan’s new government, it needs to do most, though not all, of the caving in.”

The Hatoyama government is by no means radical, nor is it anti-American. It isn’t preparing to demand that all, or even many, US bases close. It isn’t even preparing to close any of the other three dozen (or so) bases on Okinawa. Its modest pushback is confined to Futenma, where it finds itself between the rock of Japanese public opinion and the hard place of Pentagon pressure.
Those who prefer to achieve Washington’s objectives with Japan in a more roundabout fashion counsel patience. “If America undercuts the new Japanese government and creates resentment among the Japanese public, then a victory on Futenma could prove Pyrrhic,” writes Joseph Nye, the architect of US Asia policy during the Clinton years. Japan hands are urging the UnitedStates to wait until the summer, when the DPJ has a shot at picking up enough additional seats in the next parliamentary elections to jettison its coalition partners, if it deems such a move necessary.

Even if the Social Democratic Party is no longer in the government constantly raising the Okinawa base issue, the DPJ still must deal with democracy on the ground. The Okinawans are dead set against a new base. The residents of Nago, where that base would be built, just elected a mayor who campaigned on a no-base platform. It won’t look good for the party that has finally brought real democracy to Tokyo to squelch it in Okinawa.

Contd…on page 3


Image Source: Tuesdaysblog.com



Can Japan Say No to Washington?

The Marine Corps Air Station in Futenma, Okinawa, Japan.

Pacific Pushback

[A note from Tom Engelhardt for TomDispatch and WoP readers: When it comes to cracks in America’s imperial edifice — as measured by the ability of other countries to say “no” to Washington, or just look the other way when American officials insist on something — Europe has been garnering all the headlines lately, and they’ve been wildly American-centric.  “Gates: Nato, in crisis, must change its ways,” “Pull Your Weight, Europe,” “Gates:  Europe’s demilitarization has gone too far,” “Dutch Retreat,” and so on.  All this over one country — Holland — which will evidently pull out of Afghanistan thanks to intensifying public pressure about the war there, and other NATO countries whose officials are shuffling their feet and hemming and hawing about sending significant reinforcements Afghanistan-wards.  One could, of course, imagine quite a different set of headlines (“Europeans react to overbearing, overmuscled Americans,” “Europeans turn backs on endless war”), but not in the mainstream news.  You can certainly find some striking commentary on the subject by figures like Andrew Bacevich and Juan Cole, but it goes unheeded.

The truth is that Europe still seems a long way from being ready to offer any set of firm ‘noes’ to Washington on much of anything, while in Asia, ‘noes’ from key American clients of the past half-century have been even less in evidence.  But sometimes from the smallest crack in a façade come the largest of changes.  In this case, the most modest potential “no” from a new Japanese government in Tokyo, concerning U.S. basing posture in that country, seems to have caused near panic in Washington.  In neither Europe nor Asia have we felt any political earthquakes — yet.  But just below the surface, the global political tectonic plates are rubbing together, and who knows when, as power on this planet slowly shifts, one of them will slip and suddenly, for better or worse, the whole landscape of power will look different.

John Feffer, the co-director of Foreign Policy in Focus and a TomDispatch regular, already has written for this site on whether Afghanistan might prove NATO’s graveyard.  Now, he turns east to explore whether, in a dispute over one insignificant base on the Japanese island of Okinawa, we might be feeling early rumblings on the Asian fault-line of American global power.  Tom]

Has the U.S. Empire of Bases Reached Its High-Water Mark?

John Feffer

For a country with a pacifist constitution, Japan is bristling with weaponry. Indeed, that Asian land has long functioned as a huge aircraft carrier and naval base for United States military power. We couldn’t have fought wars in Korea (1950-1953) and Vietnam (1959-1975) without the nearly 90 military bases scattered around the islands of our major Pacific ally. Even today, Japan remains the anchor of what’s left of America’s Cold War containment policy when it comes to China and North Korea. From the Yokota and Kadena air bases, the United States can dispatch troops and bombers across Asia, while the Yokosuka base near Tokyo is the largest American naval installation outside the United States.

You’d think that, with so many Japanese bases, the United States wouldn’t make a big fuss about closing one of them. Think again. The current battle over the US Marine Corps air base at Futenma on Okinawa – an island prefecture almost 1,600 kilometers south of Tokyo that hosts about three dozen US bases and 75% of American forces in Japan – is just revving up. In fact, Washington seems ready to stake its reputation and its relationship with a new Japanese government on the fate of that base alone, which reveals much about US anxieties in the age of President Barack Obama.


What makes this so strange, on the surface, is that Futenma is an obsolete base. Under an agreement the Bush administration reached with the previous Japanese government, the U.S. was already planning to move most of the Marines now at Futenma to the island of Guam. Nonetheless, the Obama administration is insisting, over the protests of Okinawans and the objections of Tokyo, on completing that agreement by building a new partial replacement base in a less heavily populated part of Okinawa.

The current row between Tokyo and Washington is no mere “Pacific squall,” asNewsweek dismissively described it. After six decades of saying yes to everything the United States has demanded, Japan finally seems on the verge of saying no to something that matters greatly to Washington, and the relationship that Dwight D. Eisenhower once called an “indestructible alliance” is displaying ever more hairline fractures. Worse yet, from the Pentagon’s perspective, Japan’s resistance might prove infectious — one major reason why the United States is putting its alliance on the line over the closing of a single antiquated military base and the building of another of dubious strategic value.

During the Cold War, the Pentagon worried that countries would fall like dominoes before a relentless Communist advance. Today, the Pentagon worries about a different kind of domino effect. In Europe, NATO countries are refusing to throw their full support behind the U.S. war in Afghanistan. In Africa, no country has stepped forward to host the headquarters of the Pentagon’s new Africa Command. In Latin America, little Ecuador has kicked the U.S. out of its air base in Manta.

All of these are undoubtedly symptoms of the decline in respect for American power that the U.S. military is experiencing globally.  But the current pushback in Japan is the surest sign yet that the American empire of overseas military bases has reached its high-water mark and will soon recede.


Until recently, Japan was virtually a one-party state, and that suited Washington just fine. The long-ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) had the coziest of bipartisan relations with that city’s policymakers and its “chrysanthemum club” of Japan-friendly pundits. A recent revelation that, in 1969, Japan buckled to President Richard Nixon’s demand that it secretly host U.S. ships carrying nuclear weapons — despite Tokyo’s supposedly firm anti-nuclear principles — has pulled back the curtain on only the tip of the toadyism.

During and after the Cold War, Japanese governments bent over backwards to give Washington whatever it wanted. When government restrictions on military exports got in the way of the alliance, Tokyo simply made an exception for the United States. When cooperation on missile defense contradicted Japan’s ban on militarizing space, Tokyo again waved a magic wand and made the restriction disappear.

Although Japan’s constitution renounces the “threat or the use of force as a means of settling international disputes,” Washington pushed Tokyo to offset the costs of the U.S. military adventure in the first Gulf War against Saddam Hussein in 1990-1991, and Tokyo did so. Then, from November 2001 until just recently, Washington persuaded the Japanese to provide refueling in the Indian Ocean for vessels and aircraft involved in the war in Afghanistan. In 2007, the Pentagon even tried to arm-twist Tokyo into raising its defense spending to pay for more of the costs of the alliance.

Of course, the LDP complied with such demands because they intersected so nicely with its own plans to bend that country’s peace constitution and beef up its military. Over the last two decades, in fact, Japan has acquired remarkably sophisticated hardware, including fighter jets, in-air refueling capability, and assault ships that can function like aircraft carriers.  It also amended the 1954 Self-Defense Forces Law, which defines what the Japanese military can and cannot do, more than 50 times to give its forces the capacity to act with striking offensive strength. Despite its “peace constitution,” Japan now has one of the top militaries in the world.

Enter the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ). In August 2009, that upstart political party dethroned the LDP, after more than a half-century in power, and swept into office with a broad mandate to shake things up. Given the country’s nose-diving economy, the party’s focus has been on domestic issues and cost-cutting. Not surprisingly, however, the quest to cut pork from the Japanese budget has led the party to scrutinize the alliance with the U.S. Unlike most other countries that host U.S. military bases, Japan shoulders most of the cost of maintaining them: more than $4 billion per year in direct or indirect support.

Under the circumstances, the new government of Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama proposed something modest indeed — putting the U.S.-Japan alliance on, in the phrase of the moment, a “more equal” footing. It inaugurated this new approach in a largely symbolic way by ending Japan’s resupply mission in the Indian Ocean (though Tokyo typically sweetened the pill by offering a five-year package of $5 billion in development assistance to the Afghan government).

More substantively, the Hatoyama government also signaled that it wanted to reduce its base-support payments. Japan’s proposed belt-tightening comes at an inopportune moment for the Obama administration, as it tries to pay for two wars, its “overseas contingency operations,” and a worldwide network of more than 700 military bases. The burdens of U.S. overseas operations are increasing, and fewer countries are proving willing to share the costs.


The immediate source of tension in the U.S.-Japanese relationship has been Tokyo’s desire to renegotiate that 2006 agreement to close Futenma, transfer those 8,000 Marines to Guam, and build a new base in Nago, a less densely populated area of the island. It’s a deal that threatens to make an already strapped government pay big. Back in 2006, Tokyo promised to shell out more than $6 billion just to help relocate the Marines to Guam.

The political cost to the new government of going along with the LDP’s folly may be even higher. After all, the DPJ received a healthy chunk of voter support from Okinawans, dissatisfied with the 2006 agreement and eager to see the American occupation of their island end. Over the last several decades, with U.S. bases built cheek-by-jowl in the most heavily populated parts of the island, Okinawans have endured air, water, and noise pollution, accidents like a 2004 U.S. helicopter crash at Okinawa International University, and crimes that range from trivial speeding violations all the way up to the rapeof a 12-year-old girl by three Marines in 1995. According to a June 2009 opinion poll, 68% of Okinawans opposed relocating Futenma within the prefecture, while only 18% favored the plan. Meanwhile, the Social Democratic Party, a junior member of the ruling coalition, has threatened to pull out if Hatoyama backs away from his campaign pledge not to build a new base in Okinawa.

Then there’s the dugong, a sea mammal similar to the manatee that looks like a cross between a walrus and a dolphin and was the likely inspiration for the mermaid myth. Only 50 specimens of this endangered species are still living in the marine waters threatened by the proposed new base near less populated Nago. In a landmark case, Japanese lawyers and American environmentalists filed suit in U.S. federal court to block the base’s construction and save the dugong. Realistically speaking, even if the Pentagon were willing to appeal the case all the way up to the Supreme Court, lawyers and environmentalists could wrap the U.S. military in so much legal and bureaucratic red tape for so long that the new base might never leave the drawing board.

For environmental, political, and economic reasons, ditching the 2006 agreement is a no-brainer for Tokyo. Given Washington’s insistence on retaining a base of little strategic importance, however, the challenge for the DPJ has been to find a site other than Nago. The Japanese government floated the idea of merging the Futenma facility with existing facilities at Kadena, another U.S. base on the island. But that plan — as well as possible relocation to other parts of Japan — has met with stiff local resistance. A proposal to further expand facilities in Guam was nixed by the governor there.

The solution to all this is obvious: close down Futenma without opening another base. But so far, the United States is refusing to make it easy for the Japanese. In fact, Washington is doing all it can to box the new government in Tokyo into a corner.

Contd….on page 2




Nepal Running Out of Time

The map above shows the ethno-geographic mix of Nepal. The Maoists want an administrative restructuring of the country on ethnic lines whereas the ruling Nepali Congress coalition wants a geographically identified Nepal. The transition from the recent to proposed constitutional make up of the country now hangs in the balancec

by Dhruba Adhikary


nepalflagNepal’s transition from a Hindu monarchy to a secular republic is not going smoothly, and not just over the fast-approaching May 28 deadline for the nation’s new constitution.

Nepal’s three major parties are at loggerheads in the special assembly formed to draft the constitution over the structure of a proposed federal system. The opposition Maoists insist that federal states be created on an ethnic basis, while the ruling Nepali Congress party and its coalition partner believe the states should be formed on a geographic basis.

The Constituent Assembly was formed after a 2008 election when members voted overwhelmingly to abolish the monarchy and restructure the country into autonomous states. The powers of the last king , Gyanendra, had been steadily curtailed since a disastrous period of his rule ended in April 2006 amid a popular revolt.

In the Constituent Assembly the opposition Maoists, who form the largest block with 40% of the seats, favor an executive presidency, while the Nepali Congress and Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist are floating a parliamentary system.

At the same time, public opposition to the idea of federalism is growing, as seen in the successful anti-federalism campaign being carried out by the National People’s Front (Rashtriya Janamorcha), a small left-leaning party.

“Federalism is a recipe for Nepal to disintegrate, like the former Yugoslavia,” said Chitra Bahadur KC, the party leader. In his view, Nepal’s marginalized peoples would be better served through greater decentralization. A successful general strike his party organized in January is forcing the assembly to listen to his concerns.

[Left: Former king Gyanendra of Nepal, a small yet growing number of Nepalese now wish a return of the monarchy. RPP-Nepal which has only four members in the national assembly, led a protest campaign which attracted a wide following. Even the powerful Maoists were forced to cancel an important meeting due to the chaos and party’s large rallies managed to block the entrance to Simha Durbar, the seat of central government.]

Another small party, the royalist Rastriya Prajatantra Party-Nepal (RPP-Nepal), is calling for a national referendum on federalism, as well as on secularism and a restoration of the monarchy. It last week launched a general strike that brought Kathmandu Valley, which encompasses the capital and two other districts, to a standstill.

RPP-Nepal has only four members in the national assembly, but its protest campaign has attracted a wide following. Even the powerful Maoists were forced to cancel an important meeting due to the chaos and the RPP-Nepal’s large rallies managed to block the entrance to Simha Durbar, the seat of central government.

The party also wants a referendum to address Nepal’s status as the world’s only remaining Hindu state, which was abolished in 2008 when Nepal became a republic. More than 80% of the population is from the Hindu faith, also known as Sanaatan Dharma (the eternal law).

Hinduism, the third-largest religion after Christianity and Islam, is known for its tolerance towards other faiths. Nepal, with a sizeable Muslim population, does not possess the type of religious rivalries seen in India.

This, however, is undergoing a subtle change. There are growing feelings that too much tolerance could impact on Nepal’s Hindu way of life, especially if there is a lack of reciprocity from other faiths. The concern has grown since the proselytizing activities of Western groups that had entered Nepal in the garb of non-governmental organizations were exposed.

The Hindu backlash against Nepal becoming a secular state has grown since 2006 when the monarchy first fell and the state was established, but the leaders of some prominent political parties believe the recent popular movements may also be a power play by right-wing elements. And they are also jittery about a possible revival of the monarchy.

Kamal Thapa, who heads RPP-Nepal, denies that his party is working to restore the monarchy’s absolute rule. “All our party believes in is the restoration of a ceremonial institution that provides a symbol of unity for a country that is known for its ethnic diversity,” Thapa told Asia Times Online.

[Right: Kamal Thapa,the current president of Nepal’s only royalist party, the Rastriya Prajatantra Party. He served as Home Minister during King Gyanendra‘sdirect rule in 2006, until the king was forced to handover power to Gerija Prasad Koirala of the Nepali Congress Party and his allies with CPN-UML and CPN-Maoist.
Thapa and his party are on a signature campaign, asking for a referendum to decide the fate of monarchy.
The RPP president claims that no political party in Nepal possesses the guts to safeguard Nepali Nationality. “Now the onus lay only with the institution of monarchy to safeguard Nepali sovereignty and National Unity”, says Thapa.
 He has further urged upon the government to re-investigate the royal massacre and dig out the truths.
“Those blaming former King Gyanendra for the massacre are now holding power in the government. I challenge them to track down the guilty.”]

Thapa’s ideas appeal to many, as the 2006 declaration that made Nepal a secular nation was made without consulting the people. The May 18 declaration was made in a parliament that had been restored through royal proclamation, and the person who made it, Girija Prasad Koirala, was sworn in as prime minister by Gyanendra himself.

That declaration was illegitimate and should have been challenged there and then, according to Bishwanath Upadhayaya, a former chief justice and the head of the panel that drafted the 1990 constitution. If the changes were the outcome of a mass movement or a revolution, it should have been documented as such, he maintains.

Instead, sweeping changes were abruptly announced by Koirala on the grounds of bringing the Maoist insurgency (1996-2006) to an end and bringing the rebels into mainstream politics at all costs.

Maoist leader Pushpa Kamal Dahal (popularly known as Prachanda) has now become one of two important figures who concede that the secularization of Nepal was a mistake. The other person is none other than the incumbent President Ram Baran Yadav.

Yadav made this clear to a controversial Indian holy man, Chandraswami, when he was on a pilgrimage to Nepal. Former prime minister Koirala purportedly evaded the question. Unlike rulers in Delhi, media reports indicate that India’s Hindus want the religious identity of neighboring Nepal to remain unchanged. For them, too, this is an emotional issue.

If Nepal’s secularization was a mistake, this could be rectified when Nepal receives its new constitution. There is no need for a simultaneous restoration of the monarchy, which ceased being the custodian of the nation’s Hindus after the notorious palace massacre of 2001. Nepal could now learn to stand as a Hindu republic, not a kingdom.

Dhruba Adhikary is a Kathmandu-based journalist.

Related Posts:

1. Fighting traitors in Nepal 2. The real face of Nepal premiers – Past & Present
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Natural law brings AfPak crashing

What goes up must come down. In a way, the sheer dynamics of the nosedive of the United States’ AfPak diplomacy in the four weeks since the London conference on Afghanistan on January 28 can be attributed to the Newtonan law on gravitational pulls.

M. K. Bhadrakumar


Be it a baseball struck in a neighborhood sandlot game or in high-wire diplomacy, an elementary principle of physics holds good – what goes up must come down. In a way, the sheer dynamics of the nosedive of the United States’ AfPak diplomacy in the four weeks since the London conference on Afghanistan on January 28 can be attributed to gravitational pulls.

Earth’s gravity does not permit animated suspension, and US’s AfPak special representative Richard Holbrooke has found it difficult to keep up the entente cordiale worked out in the British capital. United States President Barack Obama may need to act faster than he would have thought.

The US’s AfPak special representative Richard Holbrooke has run into head wind almost simultaneously in four key capitals in and around the Hindu Kush – Islamabad, Kabul, Tehran and New Delhi.

Holbrooke no doubt achieved spectacular success in London, by rushing an agenda of “reintegration” and reconciliation of the Afghan Taliban through the assembled gathering of statesmen. The gathering included such inveterate critics of the doctrine of the “good Taliban” as India, China and Russia. But Holbrooke kept the lot together. That was probably the finest hour of AfPak diplomacy. (more…)

Chiniot, The City Behind The Moon


Chiniot Bridge on Rive Chenab is an ancient beautiful bridge that is all made of iron. Road runs over the top of railway track. The bridge connects Chiniot with Chenab Nagar (old name Rabwa), passing over the Chenab river. Old bridge for road was very narrow.
 The hill in the middle of the river partitioned the river and made it easy to construct the bridge in two parts. East channel has 6 spans of 40 meter length while west channel has 7 spans of the same length.
It is very scenic picnic point. Rowing boats are available here to give memorable river experience.


These photos will take you on a magical trip through Chiniot


by Nayyar Hashmey


The name Chiniot remains etched in my memory –  since my boyhood days. I vividly recall my train journeys during my summer holidays. It so happened that with the start of long summer vacations at the school, my father would tell me, take the train that connects Kundian (an important railway junction) with Lyallpur, now renamed as Faisalabad. The idea for the journey was to spend vacations with my cousins there who with my Taya ji had already settled in the city.

In this journey, what fascinated me most was part of the journey on the Sargodha-Lyallpur track, for on this very section came the town of Chiniot.


A particular feature of the town was the small rocky hillocks many of which have now vanished. After leaving Sargodha and a few stations next, the train used to move like serpentine through these barren hills. With the hills coming to an end, the track got spread over large lush green fields.

While covering this part of the journey I used to watch the fruit orchards having orange trees. Many times it so happened, that the oranges on tree branches spread up to the railway track and while you were sitting in the train, you could even pluck these fresh, bright oranges.

Another fascination was the famous railway bridge over River Chenab. The beautiful scene of the train moving over the River used to mesmerize me so much that I would get up from m seat, stand on the door of the bogey watching the river water moving at full speed under the moving train. The thrill of watching this scene was so great that even if some elder would shout, Beware boy! The train could come to a sudden halt and in a nu you could fall out. But nothing going, I used to keep standing till the train moved out of the bridge. No sooner that the train left the bridge, than we reached the railway station of Chiniot.


Chiniot station was an important halt even in those days, for here you could get soft drinks, munchies, tea or drink anything to your taste.

Later I had many chances to visit the town and every time I was there, I found something new, something amazing.

Origin of the name Chiniot

In a previous article, I mentioned different versions about the city’s nomenclature. Here now is another one.

The name Chiniot is derived from the word Chan which means moon and oat locally means behind. In other words the city behind the Moon. An historic city of the eastern province of Pakistani Punjab.

The historic significance of Chiniot boasts of its glorious past, a magnificent city which remained a strategic post to be conquered by every invader. Around 326 BC it was conquered by Alexander the Great, who passed through this region before going back to Greece.

After few years, Chiniot was taken over by Chandar Gupt Maurya who ruled this city till 30 BC.

When Islam reached the Indian sub continent, Chiniot remained under the dominance of different Muslim rulers during tenure of their respective dynasties. In the Mughal period, the city underwent immense development.

After Mughals, in 1805 it was conquered by Sikh ruler Maharaja Ranjit Singh and thereafter in 1849, the British took control of the city.

Chiniot of today

Chiniot offers one of the many awe-inspiring architectural gems of Pakistan, This historic city– is a true treasure of magnificent palaces, mosques and dazzling buildings.

Umer Hayat Palace

Standing proud in the heart of the city, Umer Hayat Palace is one of the famous ‘mahals’ of Pakistan. With a touch of Mughal architecture, the facade of the building is adorned with a fine inlay of bricks. The dazzling shine of marble and exquisite interior adds to its beauty.


Photo by @aabbiidd / Instagram

The palace is an early 20th century wooden architectural wonder and perhaps the last of Mughal style architecture. Unique carving on the doors, windows, jharokas reflect a colour of their own. The roofs, balconies, stairways, terrace and the stucco designs make perfect interior.


The dazzling shine of marble and exquisite interior adds to its beauty. Photo by @s.haseebamjad / Instagram


It’s a tremendous piece of art with stucco work, finest carving and patterns of wood in the form of jharokas, doors and window panes, which make it look like the “Taj Mahal” of Chiniot. Photo by @aabbiidd / Instagram

Shahi Masjid


Built by Nawab Saad UlIah Khan during the regime of Emperor Shah Jahan (1628-58), Shahi Masjid is another attraction of Chiniot. Photo by @aabbiidd / Instagram


Shahi Masjid Chiniot. Photo by @aabbiidd / Instagram


Shahi Masjid Chiniot. Photo by @aabbiidd / Instagram


Saeen Sukh Shrine, also known as the ‘Sheesh Mahal’ of Chiniot, stands adjacent to the Shrine of Shah Ismail Shah Bukhari. Photo by @shahrose_khan36 / Instagram

Sheesh Mahal


Sheesh Mahal is beautifully decorated with intricate designs made from mirrors. Photo by @shahrose_khan36 / Instagram

 Bara Mandir


The classic Hindu temple also known as big temple was built by Maharaja Gulab Singh. Photo by @aabbiidd / Instagram

The impressive temple is believed to have been built amid the second Anglo-Sikh war.

Shrine of Ismail Shah Bukhari


“Blessed are they who see beautiful things in humble places where other people see nothing.” -Camille Pissarro

The tomb of Hazrat Sheikh Ismail Bukhari is another charm in Chiniot that manages to lure hundreds of travelers and backpackers annually. The vault is a unique yet fascinating blend of modern and archaic style of architecture.

Sheikh Ismail was a famous saint of Chiniot and his excellent way of teaching provoked many non-Muslims to convert to Islam.

He was born in 762 Hijri. Belonged to the kin of Syed Sher Shah Jalal Surkh Bukhari, Hazrat Sheikh Ismail came to Jhang on the command of his religious teacher, Hazrat Chirag Dehlvi. They devoted their lives for the propagation of Islam.

Hazrat Sher Shah Jalal visited Jhang just two times in his whole life. Later on, his lad Ahmad Kabeer visited Jhang, who was then followed by Jahan Gasht and his children. Jahan Gasht and his brood permanently settled in Chiniot.  Hazrat Sheikh Ismail was a saint of this lineage.

Sheikh Ismail was the grand-son of the Syed Ahmad Kabeer. He reached Chiniot while passing through Delhi, Deska, Karnal, Patyala and Icherwaal. He has millions of disciples till now.

Details of Tomb

The vault of Hazrat Sheikh Ismail is almost 75 feet high and it stretches over the area of fifteen kanals. The foundation of tomb was laid before partition and construction work accomplished after partition.

The grave of Sheikh Ismail is surrounded by many small graves which are believed to be of his descendants.

The walls of the tomb are made of white cement and they look as if they’re of marble. The tiles affixed in the walls are not much long-standing but were last used in 1980.  All four walls of the tomb have ventilators. Sura-Yaseen is engraved on each wall. The vault features two moons with one big star in the middle of both.

The tomb also features four large windows and a main door that’s called “Bab-ul-Faiz”

Surroundings of Tomb

The front and back of the burial chamber is surrounded by stumpy cemeteries. This two story tomb features 8 small and 4 large towers and one big dome. Adjacent to the tomb is a mosque with prayers of “Nad-e-Ali”, “Surah-Fateh” and “Pakistan Zindabad” engraved on all of its four walls. There is a “Bara Dari” too which was built on the command of Ameer Hussain Shah. Nowadays Syed Zafar Abbas is the care-taker of the sepulcher.

Note: These pictures were collected through various users from Instagram.

Arts and Crafts of Chiniot


The town is celebrated for its wood carving and masonry. The artisans of Chiniot have been renowned for the excellence of their work since the period of the great Mughals. Masons from Chiniot were employed in the building of Taj Mahal in Agra and Wazir Khan Mosque in Lahore. The main architect of Golden Temple at Amritsar was also from Chiniot, as were the craftsman who built the more recent Minar-i-Pakistan. 

The area was once famous for boat-building, but no such industry is seen now-a-days. The town is still known for arts and crafts specially door carving, brass work, inlays and furniture. The skills are passed down from father to son. No wonder the most prominent feature of the city is the handcrafted wooden furniture which is renown all over the world for its style and delicacy, its ideally good quality and variety.


Handicrafts are items made by hand often with the use of tools and are generally artistic and traditional in pattern. They include objects of utility and objects of decoration. Handicrafts are produced entirely by hand or if needed with the help of tools too. They are also known as craft work when useful and decorative items are used to complete it.


Generally the term is used to traditional way of making items of decoration and of utility.. (Handicrafts are unique ideas that represent the culture and tradition and aesthetics of an area or of a country). It is an important sector in terms of economic development particularly in the areas where other means of production or manufacturing are nonexistent.


Pakistan has a rich history of different types of handicrafts. Pakistani artisans have great skills to show their art in craftsmanship and beauty, form and style. Gauged on these criteria, the men of Chiniot excel to produce something for every one’s taste. No wonder their products find a prominent place in the high end markets of the world.



Image Source: Title image, 2, 3, 4 to 12, 1314, 15, 16, 17 


People Who Read This Article Also Read…

(1) Chiniot: The Vanishing Landmark (2) Chiniot: The City and its Mosque



We at Wonders of Pakistan uses copyrighted material the use of which may not have always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We make such material available to our readers under the provisions of “fair use” only. If you wish to use copyrighted material for purposes other than “fair use” you must request permission from the copyright owner.
Published in: on 07/02/2017 at 6:40 pm  Comments (1)  
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