India is in an uproar over the January 8
Pakistani army attack on two Indian soldiers and the beheading of one of them. This is made worse by Pakistan insisting they are blameless and it is India that is the aggressor because of three Pakistani soldiers killed since January 6th. Indians point out this sort of nonsense has been going on for decades and it’s time to stop it. India has been trying to make peace with Pakistan for over fifty years but the Pakistani military is not interested. A constant state of tension with India is good for the Pakistani generals, who can justify getting more of the national wealth to defend against this fictional “Indian aggression.” More and more Pakistanis are realizing that they have been deceived and now the generals are under pressure to halt their illegal acts. This includes crimes within Pakistan, like the secret kidnappings and murders of Pakistanis. Most of this happens in the southwest (Baluchistan) but it’s also used against journalists or politicians seen as a threat to the military. More Pakistanis are up in arms over the three decades of military support for Islamic terrorist groups. Originally meant as a weapon against India (whose military was unbeatable) and corrupt politicians and businessmen, the terrorists are now seeking to seize control of the government, form a religious dictatorship, and fire most of the officers. India now threatens to attack if the border violence does not stop, but the Pakistani military continues to deny any responsibility for it. The Pakistani military, instead of providing security, has conjured up new threats. What the Pakistani generals believed was a cure for the nation’s problems has turned out to be a curse that is worse than the disease.
In the Pakistani tribal territories (Peshawar) Islamic terrorists have succeeded in terrorizing locally recruited police. At least 200 of these men are now refusing to serve at over a dozen checkpoints. This is the result of the Taliban killing 22 of these police last month and warning the rest to not interfere with Taliban operations.
The three year Indian campaign against its leftist (Maoist) rebels in eastern India is having some success. Maoist attacks were down 20 percent last year as were deaths from Maoist activities. These were down to 367 last year, compared 1,180 in 2010. This success masks the fact that the underlying economic and social problems, mainly caused by corrupt local officials and businessmen, have not been addressed. It’s easier to hunt down and kill Maoists and destroy their rural camps than it is to replace corrupt politicians and their local allies in the business community.
January 18, 2013: In eastern India (Chhattisgarh state) an air force helicopter was fired on by Maoists as the chopper was evacuating casualties. One man on the helicopter was wounded by the ground fire.
January 17, 2013: Indian and Pakistani generals imposed a ceasefire on the Kashmir border. This deal was arranged yesterday during a ten minute phone call between a Pakistani and Indian general. These ceasefires have been arranged before but eventually Pakistan creates another crisis with unjustified firing across the border. The Pakistani generals believe their Indian counterparts won’t risk nuclear war by escalating and at most will respond in kind and say nasty (and often true) things about Pakistani misbehavior. The Pakistani military can then claim another victory over the Indian foe. The problem is, many Pakistani no longer believe the lies and are joining India in blaming the corrupt Pakistani generals for causing these problems. There has been a general ceasefire between the two countries since 2003, but the Pakistani military keeps staging incidents (usually firing across the border) and either denying it or blaming it on India. Most Pakistanis want a real peace between the two countries and more trade and travel between them.
In the Pakistani capital Moslem cleric Tahir u Qadri signed a peace deal with the government. Qadri agreed to halt his anti-corruption occupation in front of the parliament while the government agreed to new parliamentary elections within 90 days. Qadri and his followers had been in front of parliament for four days and vowed to stay until the government did something about corruption. Qadri is a very popular moderate (Sufi) Moslem preacher who recently returned from exile in Canada. He went there in 2008 to escape death threats from Islamic radical groups. Qadri has been outspoken in his opposition to Islamic terrorism and corruption in Pakistan.
In southwest Pakistan (Baluchistan) tribal rebels warned Islamic terrorists and gangsters to stop kidnapping local Hindus and other radicals for ransom. The Islamic radicals will also attack and kill all who are not Sunni Moslems (that includes other forms of Islam as well as non-Moslems). While the Baluchi rebels are mostly Sunni they are opposed to religion-based violence.
January 16, 2013: In Pakistan the prime minister is refusing to submit to arrest (for corruption) as demanded by the increasingly militant supreme court of Pakistan.
January 15, 2013: The Pakistani supreme court ordered the arrest of the prime minister and 15 other officials on corruption charges. The prime minister is generally believed to be corrupt and opinion polls show him with little public support (less than 20 percent approval). The prime minister says this is all a plot by the army and the supreme court to replace the elected government with military rule. This has been a regular feature of Pakistani politics from the beginning. Since Pakistan was created in 1947, half the time the country has been ruled by generals who took over "for the good of the country." That no longer flies, and the generals are looking for another way to safeguard their wealth (gained largely via corruption) and privileges (also mostly illegal) from growing public wrath. The generals most recently took over in 1999, after losing yet another war (that they started) to India. When the elected government tried to remove the head of the armed forces for this fiasco, the army took over again. That lasted until 2008, and now the army is back at it once more.
January 14, 2013: Moslem cleric Tahir u Qadri leads thousands of lower and middle class Pakistanis into the capital, demanding that the corrupt government resign and asking Pakistanis to take a stand against corruption and elect a new parliament dedicated to honest and effective government. Qadri calls for the military to rule for a while and prosecution of corrupt politicians. Qadri is also opposed to corrupt military leaders and ultimately wants them to go after them as well. Like many Pakistanis, Qadri sees the military as the lesser of two evils when it comes to running the country. The problem is that most corrupt politicians trace their power back to family fortunes that were obtained and maintained through corruption (not paying taxes, stealing government assets). Each of these families has thousands of core supporters who are on the payroll and breaking the cycle of corruption means breaking the power of several hundred wealthy families. That will be difficult, even though the families are not monolithic. Some members are less corrupt (and more in favor or reform) than others. The senior military commanders often come from these families or have formed their own family fortunes and want to hold onto their loot. Many of these family fortunes (especially those based on land ownership) predate the founding of Pakistan in 1947. A lot more Pakistanis want change these days but do they want it badly enough to take on the families and defeat their power? Qadri and his followers seem to think so.
In southwest Pakistan the provincial government of Baluchistan was dismissed because of the inability of security forces to prevent attacks on Shia Moslems in the area. This is especially true in the provincial capital Quetta where terrorist bombs killed 83 Shia on the 10th.
January 13, 2013: In North Waziristan a roadside bomb hit an army convoy, killing 14 soldiers and wounding 25.
In southwest Pakistan (Quetta) Shia agreed to bury a hundred of their dead (killed by Sunni terrorists in the last week) after receiving assurances of better security for Shia.
January 12, 2013: Hakeemullah Mehsud, the head of the Pakistani Taliban, ordered his men to stop attacking Pakistani troops in North Waziristan and instead concentrate on killing Afghan and foreign troops in Afghanistan. Mehsud apparently hopes the Pakistani generals will reciprocate and, more importantly, shut down the American UAV operations over North Waziristan. Although North Waziristan is an unofficial sanctuary for Islamic terror groups, the Pakistani military still maintains forces in a few towns and the Taliban attack the supply convoys that come to these garrisons at least once a week. Islamic terrorist groups in North Waziristan have made promises like this before and eventually reneged. This time, however, the terrorists are facing a recent change in doctrine by the Pakistani military. India is no longer the major foe, Islamic terrorists are, especially those who make attacks inside Pakistan. There were also Taliban terrorist attacks in the Swat Valley, which left over twenty dead.
January 10, 2013: In Kashmir Pakistani troops fired across the border and the Indians promptly fired back, killing a Pakistani soldier. Pakistan, true to form, blamed India for starting the incident.
In southwest Pakistan (Quetta) two terrorist bombs killed 93 Shia Moslems. In the last decade Sunni Islamic terrorists (especially al Qaeda) have become more active attacking Shia Moslems (whom they consider heretics). Pakistani Shia have fought back, but this attack resulted in a major anti-military demonstration. The main sponsor of Sunni Islamic terror groups has been the military, which has not done much to stop these attacks on Pakistani Shia. So the bodies of the 93 dead Shia were not buried immediately and a Shia religious leader said they would not be buried until the military agreed to provide more security for Pakistani Shia. Nationwide, there has always been religious violence between Shia (20 percent of the population) and Sunni (most of the rest) radicals. There are dozens of Islamic terror groups in Pakistan, most of them Westerners never hear about, but many of them are more intent on fighting other Moslems than in going after infidels (non-Moslems).