India-Pakistan: Above The Law And Out Of Control


November 4, 2012: In Pakistan, outrage over the attack on Malala Yousufzai has dissipated and the military is refusing to do anything, insisting that this is a police matter. The 15 year old Malala Yousufzai is now in Britain, along with her family, to receive better care and protection from Taliban threats to hunt her down and finish the job. The Taliban are now boasting that they will go after another teenage girl (who has been given police protection) who has also been outspoken about female education. The Pakistani Taliban insists they have the right to kill women who criticize Islamic radical ideas. The Taliban responded to the media uproar over the Malala Yousufzai shooting by declaring war on journalists (especially foreign ones) and promising murder attempts against the most troublesome journalists. That helped limit how long the media uproar over the Malala Yousufzai shooting would last. Islamic terrorism still has a lot of popular support in Pakistan, where paranoia about an American led war on Islam is very popular.

Meanwhile, police have arrested at least six men during their search for those who attacked Malala Yousufzai. The main suspect is a 23 year old with a graduate degree in chemistry. He was accompanied by two other men in their twenties.

The Pakistani Taliban is under a lot of pressure in the tribal territories. Although the Islamic terrorists have a sanctuary in North Waziristan, they are having a harder time getting past all the military checkpoints. Partly as a result of this, most of the Taliban terrorist activity has moved to Karachi. This is Pakistan's largest city, with eight percent of the nation's population (14 million people) and producer of a quarter of the GDP. Islamic radicals have long been present in the city. The Taliban have established a presence among the two million Pushtuns in the city. A lot of the violence is the result of the Taliban trying to prevent the police from stopping the Pushtun radicals establishing safe havens in Karachi. This the Taliban have been able to do, and many Islamic terrorist attacks in non-tribal Pakistan (where over 90 percent of the population is) are coming out of Karachi.

The Pakistani military has made it clear that it will oppose any attempts to modify the Pakistan Army Act of 1952 (as well as the Pakistan Air Force Act of 1953 and the Pakistan Navy Ordinance of 1961) which bar civilian courts from prosecuting military personnel. This immunity is coming under increasing attack and the military is being faced with a choice between backing down or staging another coup. While the military could take over once more, that sort of thing is increasingly unpopular. This is largely because the corruption in the military and the huge amount of the national income going to the military is becoming more widely known and resented. Pakistanis were outraged when recent media stories pointed out that Pakistan has one of the lowest literacy rates in the region but spends nine times more on the military than it does on primary education. In response to that, the military has agreed to use military tribunals to try senior officers recently accused by the Supreme Court of rigging the 1990 elections. The accused are expected to be found not-guilty.  

India has deployed ten UAVs to eastern India (Chhattisgarh State) and five ground stations in military and police headquarters where video can be monitored. The UAVs are used to keep an eye on remote areas where the Maoist rebels may be operating. In addition to the UAVs the police are also instituting a new community-policing program in Jharkhand State, in an effort to reduce friction between police and the rural population (which has often been abused by the police). The ongoing campaign against the Maoists is causing a lot of damage to the leftist rebels, driving them out of remote camps they had long used as bases and killing or capturing a growing number of leaders. The Maoists are hurting but they are far from defeated.

November 3, 2012: In Pakistan’s tribal territories (Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Province) a bomb killed an anti-Taliban politician (along with two bodyguards and three bystanders). The Taliban took responsibility and vowed to kill more of these tribal leaders who lead their militias against Islamic radicals.

November 2, 2012: In a town 250 kilometers southwest of Quetta, the capital of Baluchistan province (southwest Pakistan), gunmen fired on a van near a petrol (gasoline) station, igniting fuel in barrels and causing a fire that killed at least 18 people. It’s unclear who was attacking who and over what.

October 29, 2012: In Pakistan’s tribal territories (near the Khyber Pass) soldiers clashed with some Taliban and were quickly reinforced by armed helicopters. Several hours of fighting left two soldiers and at least ten Taliban dead.

October 28, 2012: In Pakistan cell phone service was shut down for several hours in parts of a dozen towns and cities, in order to deal with reports of Islamic terrorist plans to make a number of attacks. Cell phones are frequently used by terrorists to remotely detonate explosives. Today is the start of a four day long Moslem religious holiday, which is a favorite time for Islamic terrorists to make attacks. There were few such attacks in Pakistan this year.

In northwest Pakistan (Nowshera) a bomb went off at a Sufi shrine, killing three people. Sunni radicals are suspected.

October 25, 2012: In Pakistan’s tribal territories (Swat valley) two anti-Taliban tribal leaders were shot dead. Elsewhere in the tribal territories (Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Province) a multi-day operation has led to the arrest of over 2,300 Taliban suspects (although about 30 percent were quickly released) and the discovery and destruction of at least two Taliban bases.

October 24, 2012: In Pakistan’s tribal territories (North Waziristan) an American UAV fired missiles that killed five terrorism suspects.

October 23, 2012: The Indian Defense Ministry plans to prosecute some senior generals after an audit showed that over $20 million was wasted (and possibly stolen) in the last few years via questionable purchases. One of the more common ploys was to buy equipment via third parties (agents or distributors) instead of going directly to the manufacturer (which Indian law and government practice insists on). Buying via agents is more expensive and more likely to include bribes.

October 22, 2012: An official Pakistani investigation of the discovery (via an American raid) that Osama bin Laden had been hiding in Pakistan for a decade (the Abbottabad Commission) declared that the Pakistani government and military knew nothing about the presence of bin Laden and had nothing to do with helping bin Laden stay hidden for so long. The commission did have a lot to say about the American raid in May of 2011, which they declared a violation of Pakistani sovereignty.




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