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Urdunama: Tehrik-e-Kashmir

Nazaria-i-Pakistan Trust’s annual Kashmir Solidarity Day conference was held in Lahore yesterday.  Speakers included the always-delightful Majid Nizami, chairman of the Nazaria-i-Pakistan Trust and Waqt Group, and the well-known pacifist and respected academic, Professor Hafiz Mohammed Saeed.  The theme of this year’s conference was clear.  The U.S. has been vanquished in Afghanistan.  India’s leverage over Pakistan is at an end.  The Kashmir issue is no longer on the back burner.  Freedom fighters are about to return to the Valley.  Excerpts of their speeches follow:

Majid Nizami: Kashmir cannot become a part of Pakistan without jihad.  I am willing to sacrifice my life for Pakistan.  We can win Kashmir only through arms, missiles and atom bombs, not through dialog or trade.  And until the issue of Kashmir is solved, Pakistan must not have any relations with India of any kind.

Hafiz Saeed: In the past, we have been unable to resolve the issue of Kashmir because our political and military leaders were disunited.  When Pakistan became a nuclear power in 1998, India was despondent, and [prime minister] Vajpayee — whose links are with the BJP, which was recently identified as having terrorist affiliations by India’s Home Minister — rushed to Pakistan to save face.

Similarly, when it appeared in 1999 that India was about to lose Kashmir (and I am personally aware of what our position was in Kargil), India appealed to the U.S.  It was because of U.S. interference and our own internal differences that we were not able to win in Kargil.  But there is no need for pessimism. I propose that a committee be formed under Majid Nizami, which will examine the reasons for our past failures and propose future plans for the resolution of the Kashmir issue.

As a consequence of 9/11, the freedom struggle in Kashmir was negatively affected.  During the U.S.’s invasion of Afghanistan, India tried its best to cause harm to Pakistan.  India set up terror training camps along our border with Afghanistan and interfered in Balochistan.  But India’s ambitions in Afghanistan now have been severely hit with America’s retreat.

The issue isn’t just Kashmir.  India plans to stop the flow of river water into Pakistan; there is a project to build over 250 dams to prevent river water from flowing into Pakistan, of which 62 have already been built.  But India knows that it is failing in its designs against Pakistan.  It brings up dialog and “aman ki asha” when it realizes that its American friends have have been forced to leave the region.  We salute the Kashmiris for not having given up hope these 11 difficult years.

Pakistan’s priority must be to solve the Kashmir problem.  We can talk to India, because issues can also be resolved through dialog.  But on the condition that India stops its aggressive behavior towards Pakistan, withdraws its troops from Kashmir, and stops damming the rivers flowing into Pakistan.  Let India decide if it wants to resolve the Kashmir issue through dialog or through war.  Hafiz Saeed and those under his command are ready for jihad. [نواےوقت]

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Urdunama: Saboot

On December 1, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani-Khar told news channels that while there was “no evidence” to implicate Hafiz Saeed in the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai, Pakistan would take action if India were to provide proof of his involvement.  A day later, Pakistan’s far-right Urdu newspaper Ummat interviewed Hafiz Saeed on 26/11, who lashed out against Ms. Khar, India and the United States, while proclaiming his innocence.  Excerpts of the interview follow:

On Ms. Khar’s statements promising action against Hafiz Saeed should India provide proof.

[If any allegations are brought forward,] we will leave the matter to the courts.  We have always opted to resolve issues via the court of law and will continue to do so. We would like to resolve all issues within the provisions of Pakistani law. We do not intend to pursue those actions that will create problems; we’re interested in solving problems, not compounding them.

[However,] it has been 4 years since the attacks in Mumbai. In these 4 years, India has been unable to provide any evidence against me in connection with the case. The documents provided by India as evidence could not stand in court and were dismissed by Lahore High Court as propaganda. A similar case was also made by the Supreme Court. A judicial commission was sent from Pakistan to India on the issue of the Mumbai attacks, and no proof of my involvement was presented to them. Despite this, Ms Khar wants to ask India to provide more evidence against me. She appears to be very eager to help India resolve the Mumbai case, but what has she done with regard to the Samjhauta Express attacks, where many Pakistanis were killed?

If Ms Khar says her government would like to resolve the Kashmir dispute through non-military means, can she tell us how successful her government has been thus far? We have about 2-3 issues with India on Kashmir, and her government has been completely unsuccessful in resolving these through non-military means. There is only one way to resolve the Kashmir dispute — jihad.

On why the U.S. pursues action against him.

U.S. allegations against me are both a conspiracy and evidence of the deepening India-U.S. relationship.  Al-hamdulillah, we have been very successful, through Difa-e-Pakistan Council, in bringing various organizations together and exposing the conspiracies of the U.S. and its ally India to the rest of the people of Pakistan. It is because of this that the U.S. and India want to silence me in any way possible.

On peace with India and the U.S.

The U.S. and India are not pursuing the interests of their people, but the interests of their own politicians. India, to this day, has not accepted Pakistan’s right to exist as an independent state. And yet our leaders go to India and grovel for trade. They want to improve trade ties with India and grant them “Most Favored Nation” status. The U.S. completely supports India in its hatred for Pakistan. The U.S. uses India in the subcontinent the same way it uses Israel in the Middle East. Both India and the U.S. are blinded by their hatred for Islam.

We are now in December. It was in December years ago that the very same India dismembered Pakistan.  Do we now seek to improve economic ties with the same country that divided Pakistan and continues to suppress Kashmiris? Every product that is exported from India to Pakistan will be tainted with the blood of Kashmiri Muslims. Our politicians do not understand that the Afghan Taliban in Afghanistan and the mujahideen in Kashmir are fighting wars for the survival of Pakistan.

India unleashes state-sponsored terrorism in Kashmir, and dams rivers flowing into Pakistan; and yet our government wants to grant them “Most Favored Nation” status. If our leaders are incapable of empathizing with the mujahideen in Kashmir, fine.  But they must, at the very least, not get in their way. [روزنامہ امّت]

 

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Urdunama: Amriki Pabandi

The U.S. Department of Treasury added 8 members of Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Harkat ul-Jihad al-Islami (HuJI) to its list of Specially Designated Global Terrorists on August 30, 2012.  Those added to the list include Sajid Mir (who played an integral role in 26/11), Abdullah Mujahid (LeT commander responsible for Afghanistan operations), Abdullah Muntazir and Talha Saeed (son of Hafiz Saeed).  In April 2012, the U.S. Department of State also issued a $10 million  reward for information leading to the capture of Hafiz Saeed himself.

But Hafiz Saeed, who now apparently harbors political aspirations in Pakistan, has gone to great lengths (as this blog has previously pointed out) in painting himself as the leader of the Jamaat ud-Dawa (JuD), a self-proclaimed charitable organization, and having no connection with the LeT. But the fact that the LeT, JuD and the Difa-e-Pakistan Council are all inexorably linked is a known to both India and the U.S.

In response to the U.S. Department of Treasury’s decision, Hafiz Saeed yet again attempted to distance himself from the LeT and claimed that U.S. actions were motivated by the JuD’s opposition to the forthcoming operations in North Waziristan.  Excerpts from Hafiz Saeed’s interview with the far-right newspaper, Ummat follow:

The U.S. has designated many of my colleagues as terrorists affiliated to an organization called Lashkar-e-Taiba.  But the JuD has nothing to do with the LeT.  I previously articulated that the Lashkar-e-Taiba is one of the many organizations that operates in India’s Occupied Kashmir, whose members are all residents of Kashmir.  We, on the other hand, are based only in Pakistan.  In attempting to conflate the LeT and JuD, America’s intelligence agencies are fooling not only the rest of the world, but also the people of Pakistan.

At this point in time the JuD is in the process of garnering popular support against the U.S.’s policies on Pakistan, as well as the re-opening of NATO supply lines and the resumption of drone strikes.  The U.S. has been displeased with our activities, and hence the attempt to malign our leadership.

These latest U.S. actions are meaningless, because those who have been designated terrorists have neither any assets or bank accounts in the U.S., nor have they ever traveled to the U.S.   This is just an attempt to malign our organization and fool the American people into believing that their government is trying to combat terrorism.

I have already communicated to the UN our views on being targeted by the U.S., and will write again, in response to the destinations by the U.S.  We are also in the process of organizing a protest, with the aid of other religious and political organizations in Pakistan, against U.S. policies in Pakistan.  The protest will take place on September 11.

We have previously invited the U.S. to visit with us and to verify for themselves the charitable work being carried out by the JuD.  However, we have not received any response.  Regardless of what the U.S. does, we will be urging the Pakistani government to pursue its own national interests and not buckle under U.S. pressure. [روزنامہ امّت]

 

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Urdunama: Khula Khat

Jamaat ud-Dawwa’s (JuD’s) leader Hafiz Saeed recently published an “open letter” to Pakistan’s parliament, protesting its decision to restore on-land NATO supply routes and “conditional re-engagement” with the U.S. The pamphlet bears the letterhead of the JuD, but appears to speak on behalf of the Difa-e-Pakistan Council (DPC), further confirming the futility in attempts to distinguish between the two, or indeed between the DPC and the MJC brotherhood.  This “open letter” was brought to light by journalist Omar Quraishi (thanks to @Vikram_Sood for the link) .  The pamphlet was pasted outside one of Karachi’s most upscale stores (اردو).

To the Members of Parliament:

As you are aware, the Parliamentary Committee on National Security (PCNS) has presented its recommendations on relations with the U.S. and the issue of NATO’s supply lines during the joint parliamentary session on March 20, 2012.  News reports indicate that NATO supply lines are being restored due to U.S. pressure.  It is also allegedly being proposed that taxes on NATO supplies be increased and that 50 per cent of the traffic be transported via rail.

The Difa-e-Pakistan Council has already communicated its thoughts to the Parliament on the above proposals, and would further like to remind the Parliament that:

  1. Parvez Musharraf entered into secret and verbal agreements with the U.S. that ultimately were detrimental to our own security and to the security of our Afghan brothers.  However, if these agreements are now being given formal consent via the Parliament, it sets a very dangerous precedent.
  2. The East India Company had also entered into similar agreements with the Mughal Empire, which resulted in the colonization of India.  If the Parliament accedes to these agreements, Pakistan’s sovereignty will no doubt be compromised.
  3. We must be cognizant of the fact that restoration of on-land access routes to NATO will negatively impact our relations with China.
  4. The bold bipartisan decision to ban NATO supply routes after the Salala incident brought confidence to the people of Pakistan.  However, if these routes were to be reauthorized, it would create confusion and instability in our country.
  5. It is indeed worrying that India is being given on-land access to Afghanistan and West Asia via Pakistan.  In fact, this presents a far greater risk to Pakistan than the restoration of supply routes to NATO. The U.S. and India have recently concluded joint military exercises in Rajasthan.  Granting India route access to Afghanistan via Pakistan and entering into trade agreements with that country present a security threat to Pakistan and risks annoying friendly nations such as China.
  6. We must consider that NATO containers travel through all provinces of Pakistan and have previously been targeted and could be targeted yet again if supply routes are restored.  Thus, the U.S. might use repeated attacks on its trucks as a ruse to invade or establish a military foothold inside Pakistan, claiming a lack of confidence in the Pakistani armed forces’ ability to safeguard their assets.
  7. The U.S. has never honored any of its agreements with Pakistan.  It instead blamed Pakistan for the Salala altercation.  Are we about to endorse these actions, and that too via our own Parliament? Would this happen, Pakistan will be engulfed yet again by the flames of terrorism fanned by the likes of the U.S., NATO and India.

Dear Members of Parliament, we ask that you consider our requests objectively.  We ask that you depart from the tradition of parochial policy-making and think instead of Pakistan’s citizens and its future generations.  If you were to make your decisions against the will of the people of Pakistan, it will hurt the nation and our Afghan brothers.  Please remember that those helping people who burn the Quran and kill our brothers will be accountable for their sins in this life and beyond.  May Allah assist you in doing right by your people.

Your well-wisher,

Hafiz Muhammad Saeed

Ameer, Jamaat ud-Dawwa Pakistan [Source]

The “open letter” is interesting because where India and the U.S. are concerned, the LeT/JuD (unlike other jihadi outfits) has seldom differed with sponsors in Rawalpindi.  However, it would also be nearly impossible for a decision in Pakistan’s parliament to have been concluded on the future of ties with the U.S. and on NATO supply routes without consultation and approval from GHQ.

Effectively, the GHQ is being drawn into making compromises on U.S. demands out of reluctance yet again, as it was at the beginning of U.S. operations in Afghanistan in 2001.  It has since pursued a policy of  supporting U.S.-led operations, while covertly attempting to undermine them.  Lt. Gen. Nadeem Taj’s antics, the Haqqani network’s activities inside Afghanistan and Osama bin Laden’s discovery in Abbottabad are but examples of Pakistan’s attempts at subversion.

While Rawalpindi might have agreed ostensibly to restore NATO supply routes, it does so out of necessity and with every intention to keep the pressure on the U.S. and allied forces with 2014 in mind.  To that end, it might employ a series of agents to do its bidding. Historically, groups such as the LeT have been primarily been India-focused.  But this might be changing if Rawalpindi is committed to temporary bonhomie with India. The recent attacks by the Taliban in Kabul and not-so-subtle threats in bullet #6 above might be harbingers of a dangerous summer.

Note: Source and additional detail updated based on the pamphlet on the Difa-e-Pakistan Council website.

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