Mastung attack victims buried under strict security

QUETTA: The bodies of 29 victims, who were killed in a deadly suicide attack on a bus in Mastung, were laid to rest today.

Amidst strict security arrangements, the victims were buried in Bahisht-e-Zainab graveyard on Quetta’s Alamdar Road and Bahisht-e-Zahra graveyard in Hazara Town.

A large number of women had also gathered to pay their respects to the deceased.

The funeral prayers for the victims had been offered in Quetta’s Punjabi Imambargah.

The burials come in hours after the Shia Hazara community agreed to end its protest sit-in after Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan assured them that strict action would be taken against elements that carried out the attack. The attack had been claimed by Lashkar-i-Jhangvi which also warned of more such attacks.

Hundreds of Hazara men, women and children had held a protest sit-in in the Quetta’s Shuhada chowk for about 48 hours in extremely cold weather with sub-zero temperatures at night on Sunday.

Sit-ins and demonstrations had also been held in Karachi, Lahore, Multan and Rawalpindi.

On Jan 21, 29 people were killed and dozens injured when a powerful explosion ripped through a bus carrying Shia pilgrims in Balochistan’s militancy-hit Mastung district.


Man without a legal legacy

BEFORE Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry came along, the one resurrection known to mankind had been deemed a miracle. But Pakistan’s chief justice managed it twice — in 2007 and then in 2009. And since his second coming, what a rollercoaster ride the inhabitants of the big white building on Constitution Avenue have been on. From the NRO to the prime minister’s appointments to missing people, nothing proved too small or too controversial.

Some of it, it is alleged, was driven by the CJ’s love of publicity. It’s plausible — on the first day of his restoration, he walked up the stairs to his office on the top floor of the building. The clever move provided visuals to the 24/7 news channels as each one of them showed the climb. It was a moment that captured the CJ and his era. For individuals — however larger than life they may be — are a product of their times and the CJ is no different. He captured the imagination of a nation that was tiring of a dictator and learning to shape its destiny as the news camera stood witness.

General (retd) Musharraf provided a focal point for those opposing him when he sacked the CJ. The political parties, the lawyers, the same middle class that Musharraf was said to have mid-wifed. And of course the television cameras turned this into the stuff of legends — the 26-hour journey to Lahore from Islamabad, the May 2007 visit to Karachi and even the final Long March in 2009.

The dictator slayer understood this. He returned after a revolution that had been televised and he ensured that the cameras didn’t stop rolling.

He thundered against corruption, chastised bureaucrats and police officials, treating them with the contempt ordinary people wished they could exercise. He personified the aam aadmi when he reminded the politician that his job was to serve the people.

A lawyer who does not want to be named says: “The CJ needs to be seen in his two roles — his historic defiance to Musharraf, which no one can ever deny him, and then as an ordinary judge where he faulted again and again.”

His courtroom proceeded to provide fodder to the 24/7 ticker monster with a voracious appetite.

In an age of experience where politicians were bound by economic constraints and could no longer promise roti, kapra aur makaan, the CJ became the medieval king whose darbar was open to all those who could send in a petition or get a journalist to report their story.

At the same time, the traditional saviour of the people, the army, was also busy patching its uniform that had seen considerable wear and tear during the Musharraf era.

Within this context, Chaudhry made all the right sounds, especially for the burgeoning middle class that wanted not just employment and food hand-outs from its elected representatives but also merit and honesty.

He promised to check sugar prices, corruption, appointments made on the basis of nepotism and shady contracts that were finalised after alleged kickbacks. Cartel owners, investors and prime ministers were dragged to the courts.

Bureaucrats were kept so busy that they complained they had little time left for their work.

And most were treated with disdain. For instance, Adnan Khawaja, whom then prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani appointed as the head of OGDCL, was berated for his young age when he appeared in the court. Few managed to give as good as they got, such as former attorney general Irfan Qadir whose verbal sparring in Courtroom One was relished by many.

The Swiss cases proved such an obsession that the Supreme Court sent home an elected prime minister despite warnings that it would derail a fledgling democracy.

Perhaps, someone remembered that the middle classes in most developing countries have always prioritised honesty over democracy.

Be as it may, this was not the only time Iftikhar Chaudhry’s court was accused of judicial over-reach. The International Commission of Jurists’ latest report on the SC provides an excellent and comprehensive analysis of the court’s activities.

Ahmer Bilal Soofi, who is a Supreme Court advocate as well as a former federal minister, advocated for strategic judicial restraint in the future, adding that “each time there is a violation of a rule or an audit objection, corruption cannot be assumed and a criminal case registered. The courts and NAB have to have proof of corruption before proceeding”.

He said the government, its bureaucrats and entrepreneurs should be given a chance to take quick decisions and turn the wheel of economy.

His views were seconded by a former government official who said that the SC had hampered decision making in the executive.

By this time, his earlier supporters had distanced themselves from him — the gutsy lawyers who had led the initial onslaught against Musharraf in support of Chaudhry (Asma Jahangir, Aitzaz Ahsan and Ali Ahmed Kurd, to name a few); political parties such as the PPP and the ANP that shed blood for his restoration became his biggest critics and even within the bars there were whispers. And then came the harshest blow — his son’s alleged corruption that left a dark stain on his reputation. It’s a stain that has not faded with time.

But the final blow came just recently when protesting lawyers outside his Court House were attacked by the police. The incident brought home his isolation from his support base.

But perhaps more importantly, Chaudhry’s justice was of the medieval variety — akin to the caring rulers who roamed the streets to check on the welfare of their subjects. This individualised approach to justice remains just that — popular folklore that does not impress those who record history.

Sugar prices remained unchanged while the real estate juggernaut Bahria Town too ploughs ahead and McDonalds still continues to sell its burgers from the corner of the F-9 park in Islamabad; judgments cannot change market forces nor institutional working.

As an observer pointed out, “he never strengthened the judicial system, especially its lower tiers”.

The most famous political cases drag on unresolved — soap operas in which the audiences have lost interest. The NRO implementation case; ‘Memogate’; Bahria Town’s land cases — none has come to a clean end with a judgment that offers the flawed polity a new beginning or a new direction. The detailed judgment on the 18th amendment is also awaited.

Even with the missing people’s case, where the CJ’s harshest detractors have praised him, the court has simply had the Angelina Jolie effect. The high-profile hearings have given it national prominence. But beyond that, the disappearances continue, the mutilated bodies are still dumped and the relatives’ search has not ended. (A lawyer described the order passed on Tuesday as ‘an eyewash’.) In other words, at the end the CJ proved that while judges can aspire to be charismatic figures who speak “populese” instead of “legalese”, governance tasks are best left to those who accept the responsibility and the authority to rule.

His tenure reminds us that justice at the end of the day is not bigger than the system that ensures it. In most cases he had to turn to the very executive that he berated and held in contempt and asked it to investigate; establish facts or make laws. This is why perhaps all Chaudhry could do decisively was to overturn the NRO — that Musharraf had bulldozed in his last days and which enjoyed little to no support. So when the court asked parliament to ratify it, everyone backed off and Chaudhry’s supporters chalked it down as a victory.

That is all the revolutionary judge will leave behind when he exits the big white building on Dec 11. Even the television cameras, his steadfast allies, will remain behind. He will walk away, aware that Musharraf will define Chaudhry’s legacy as much as Chaudhry defines Musharraf’s. The legal aspect will always remain secondary.

As journalist and analyst Nusrat Javed puts it: “The chief justice is leaving as a strong man without a legacy.”

India goes vivacious in Balochistan

QUETTA – Pakistan is undergoing the most critical phase of its history since its inception and is battling the menace of terrorism with utmost vigour. The peaceful holding of General Elections in May this year testified the resilience and resolve of 180 million people not to succumb to the demands of handful extremists who, at the behest of RAW and other hostile powers, intend to impose their own version of ideologies by making people hostage to their ruthless agenda. Pakistan is also wary of India’sincreasing role in Afghanistan under the garb of reconstruction and rehabilitation projects and usage of its soil for fuelling militancy in FATA and Balochistan which, it considers as a grave threat to the national security and solidarity.

One is extremely alarmed by opening up of a number of unjustified Diplomatic Missions by India across Afghanistan. India has also opened Consulates in Heart, Mazar-e-Sharif, Jalalabad, and Kandahar, and the global media reports and international spy agencies have proved at number of occasions that these ‘Indian Missions are actually providing cover to Indian intelligence operatives to carry out covert operations against Pakistan, as well as exacerbate separatism in Balochistan province.

Under the prevalent environs, Balochistan issue is developing into the most traumatized issue of the country. Complexity is aggravating with each passing day owing to convergence of interests of regional & global stake holders. Terrorist activities across country including suicide bombings, target killings and sectarian violence have drastically amplified in recent years due to the irrefutable involvement of foreign intelligence agencies especially India’s RAW. The deep rooted involvement of RAW and other hostile intelligence agencies in Balochistan province is obviously due to overabundance of natural resources embedded in the region. According to an estimate Pakistan has 25.1 trillion cubic feet of confirmed Gas reserves out of which nineteen trillion are to be found in Balochistan.

Research indicates that RAW in collaboration with Afghan intelligence agency NOS is actively providing covert financial and weapon support to Baloch militant groups such as the Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA), Baloch Republican Army (BRA), Balochistan Liberation Front (BLF) etc for conducting terrorist activities in Balochistan. The outfits are treading the separatist’s agenda and are responsible for causing mayhem in the province. Irrefutable evidences suggest that Baloch militants are being harboured at various places and training camps located at Kabul, Nimroz and Kandahar in Afghanistan by RAW in collaboration with Afghan intelligence agency NOS since 2006.

RAW is also providing sustained financing and monetary support to Baloch feudal & militants both in Afghanistan and Balochistan. Besides, RAW, with the complete support and patronage of Afghan authorities, is also involved in provision of Arms &ammunitions to Baloch militants for conducting terrorist activities inside Pakistan.

Highly credible sources, privy to confined circles also point out about the evidences held by them regarding RAW’s involvement in provision of fake identity and travel documents to Baloch militants for moving out of Afghanistan to India, UAE and Western countries. It is arranging visits of Baloch sub nationalists and militants to India for training purposes. In this regard RAW arranged visit of Riaz Gull Bugti (leading militant commander of Brahamdagh Bugti) to India in September 2009, where he was briefed and trained by RAW for terrorist activities. In order to overcome the linguistic problems in future, RAW is also involved in arranging Balochi language courses in India for Afghan Intelligence operatives through Balochi instructors, so that their expertise could be utilized for creating further unrest in the ,province through terrorist activities.

Research reveals that RAW, in collaboration with prominent Baloch sub nationalists round the globe is also persistently utilizing various international forums, NGOs and think tank organizations, such as United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) regular sessions etc for maligning Pakistan through arranging stage managed events such as pre-planned anti- Pakistan interventions, media briefings, protests & demonstrations etc.

“Their convergence, facilitation (lodgment, travel expenses etc) and subsequent media (including vibes) propagation is managed and funded by RAW and other hostile Intelligence Agencies through their operatives.

Investigations indicate that Tarek Fateh, a Canada based political activist and sympathizer of Baloch sub nationalists, after spitting his venom against Pakistan during UNHRC 22nd session at Geneva in February 2013, visited India on RAW’s sponsorship for getting commendation and future directions. He also held one-on-one meetings with RAW’s ex senior officers VikramSood & A SDaulat, which amply highlights the evil nexus.

Investigations indicate that Pakistani security agencies have the undeniable evidences of RAW’s involvement in Karachi terrorist activities where some terrorists, after conducting the heinous crimes, went to RAW offices along Afghan border to show them the videos, collect money and get directions for further operations. Evidence of provision of millions of Dollars to these militants by RAW are held by Pakistani Intelligence agencies while some security agencies of certain friendly countries are also in possession of similar evidence.

Internationa media investigations indicate that close relatives and friends of Hakim Ullah Mehsod and Moulana Fazlullah frequently visit Afghanistan for meeting RAW officers under diplomatic cover at Indian Embassy, Consulates and collect millions of Dollars to conduct terrorist acts back in Pakistan.

These investigations reveal that the Swat’s militants are being facilitated through camps in area of Kunar and Nuristan. They are given training and weapons to conduct organized militant actions againstPakistan’s regular and civil Armed Forces in FATA areas. Molana Fazlullah and his commanders openly travel across Afghanistan and visit Indian Embassy, Consulates, RAW and NOS offices, as if Afghanistan is their home town.

Media investigations reveal further that India’s RAW and Israel’s Mossad are running joint operation against Pakistan’s nuclear assets and thus both are contributing full share in providing funds and direction to militants for conducting terrorist activities, targeted at locating and destroying Pakistan’s nuclear installations.

Exploitation of social vibes i.e. internet, Face book, Twitter, Blogs etc are also on RAW’s top agenda, as it is actively involved in unleashing massive propaganda and disinformation campaign on Balochistan issue vis-a-vis maligning Pakistan through this medium with fake identities. The Daily Mail’s investigations indicate that around 4 dozen fake blogs and websites as well hundreds of fake Face book and Twitter IDs are being run by RAW to supports its operations against Pakistan in the cyber world.

– RAW running multiple operations in Balochistan with help of Afghan, Israeli agencies 
– RAW, Mossad running operation through local pawns with ultimate aim at Pak nuke installations 
– Prominent Pakistani militants comfortably visit across Afghanistan to meet RAW bosses 
– Pak authorities having undeniable evidences of Indian involvement in Balochistan 
– Most-wanted terrorists hold frequent meetings with RAW bosses in New Delhi 
– Canadian nationals too being used by RAW to operate against Pakistan and fund militants 
– Riaz Bugti of BLA and Tarek Fateh of Canada among top frequent guests of RAW 
– Terror camps under Command of India’s sham Consulates exporting terror from Kabul, Nimroz and Kandahar