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Posts from — February 2009

Kashmiris want Democracy and Development

By Farooq Ganderbali

The middle phase of year 2008 was turbulent for the state of Jammu and Kashmir. The state was rocked by the agitation over Amarnath land transfer. Both the capital cities of Srinagar and Jammu were paralysed by these events which often were violent in nature. Not to be left behind the separatists had managed to somehow turn the agitation for
their own gains and were thought to have become quite powerful. At this point of time the elections were announced and to the surprise of all it succeeded so spectacularly that everyone was surprised. With poll percentage standing at 61 per cent, it was far ahead of 44 per cent during 2002 assembly elections.

The fear of Pakistan-sponsored terrorists in the state is definitely waning and the Hurriyat is also realizing that, even as it stayed away from the polls, it could not enforce a general boycott. The successful conduct of the elections is a fall-out of the cease-fire accord between the former prime minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, and General Musharraf still holding—a development that is independently reflected in the steady drop in Valley violence from year to year. There are also other factors responsible for this rebuttal of separatist politics.

In these elections people voted according to their choice. The party which they thought would be able to deliver at the development front was their obvious choice. The fractured mandate also indicates the growing awareness among the people who want to keep these parties under check. The increased participation of people in the elections reflects greater acceptance of current reality and the need to deal with it on its own terms. The participation in the elections therefore marks a shift from living under fear of terrorists to a more realistic willingness to participate in self-governance.

Though the state is still in a fragile mood following the flaring up of sensitive issues, but none of it kept the people from abstaining from voting. They know that if they miss this golden chance the separatist leaders and their terror supporters will get another opportunity to boast of their hollow victory. What follows then is the same cycle of death and destruction in which only these separatist leaders make hay. So the best way to silence these separatist leaders was to enthusiastically embrace the great Indian democracy and this is what they did.

The scars of last twenty years are written all over the state in every sphere. Even as the rest of India moved by leaps and bounds, Kashmir had to remain tethered to violent elements for no choice of theirs. Now they want to forget the bitter past and catch up with other in the development sector. For this they have extended their hand of cooperation towards the political parties and they hope that the new government will do wonders. It is vital now that those who run the administration ensure good governance and rapid economic development. The Kashmiri sense of exceptionalism is such that no one should hope for any kind of economism to replace even the most unrealistic political day-dreaming. Still, local demonstration of the Indian success in marrying democracy and development can and will make a difference. The new leadership has started with this new pragmatism. People have been fed up with the previous government’s who had been
given the chance but were not able to deliver upto expectations.

A young state like Jammu and Kashmir needs a more flexibility and intelligence than what is provided by old politicians. So it was a welcome news that Farooq Abdullah agreed to step aside and allowed his son Omar to take charge of the reins of administration. Omar has been

actively present at the centre of Kashmir politics for the last ten years and his family has been in this field for the last seventy years. This makes an envious blend of experience and youth, which everybody hopes will do wonders in the state.

February 23, 2009   No Comments

China Forces France Telecom To……

France Telecom forced to share its communications filtering expertise with Chinese intelligence agencies, according to a Paris based web site.

The report says several other French telecom companies doing business with China have also faced similar pressure.

The site, Intelligence online, says the French telecom companies had received a specific request from Zhou Yongkang, head of Chinese Security apparatus. Zhou is also a member of Politburo Standing Committee of the Communist Party.

The report adds that the French technology will enable the Chinese to monitor telephonic conversations and to disconnet a call abruptly if the device picks up some suspect key words. These words will be fed into the system for ‘hassle’ free detection.

February 19, 2009   No Comments

Pakistan is real problem in Afghanistan

Lately Internet is witness to an interesting campaign. But it is carried out through some very innocuous web sites. Its message: Pakistan and common Afghans are the real victims of foreign intervention in Afghanistan. The authors, all Pakistan writers, pop up the same, if not identical, arguments on the sites sponsored by Pak army and its proxies.

They also brazenly glorify Al-Qaeda leader Al-Jawahiri’s threats of wiping out additional 30,000 American troops due to arrive in Kabul.

Presenting a moving pen picture of Afghan children fighting for garbage on the streets of Pakistan, the authors aver that the real people are not Al-Qaeda or Taliban. “These real people want to lead a dignified life. What they need is not more troops but freedom from fear and fighting and health care and education”.

That is absolutely right. People want freedom, education, health, food, shelter and clothes. They want to live as equal citizens of the world but they are denied these genuine rights. And they are made “sacrificial goats” in the hands of the Taliban and their creator, the ISI.

No additional proof is required and the world knows how the Pakistan Army has created the Taliban in Afghanistan. The Taliban justice system, based on their brand of Shariat, has no parallels in civilized world. Aren’t these Taliban who had destroyed schools, forced girls and women to stay within confines of their homes and convert hospitals into dumping grounds during their rule in Afghanistan?

One can see the replay of the Taleban administration and judicial system in the Swat and other areas of North Western Frontier Province (NWFP) of Pakistan. Gen Zia-ul-Haq regime had handed over Afghanistan to these medieval ‘marauders’.

The current Pakistan Army leadership, which is effectively dictating terms to the new civil administration, has now unceremoniously surrendered the Malakand division of the NWFP to the Taliban. The results are fast manifesting themselves.

There is a suicide bombing in Peshawar soon after inking the Peace Accord to implement the Shariat. The Geo TV journalist Musa Khan was killed. The Chief of SAFMA, the SAARC Media Association, was beaten up. Nearly 13,000 schools in the area were already blasted. Many teachers were beaten up while the parents were forced to withdraw their girls from going to the schools.

Their Taliban counterpart in Afghanistan continues to impose their terror despite being on the run. It was the Taliban/Al-Qaeda orchestration of terror in the world, which brought the international force to Afghanistan to bring order back to the country. It is nearly eight years and they have not succeeded. How can then the weak Karzai administration and poorly equipped police be faulted for failure in tackling this daunting task.

The clear explanation is that the Al-Qaeda/Taleban leadership and fighters continued to find ‘safe sanctuaries’ in Pakistan’s FATA with open connivance and support of Pakistan security agencies. The clever double game played by the former Army Chief and President Parvez Musharraf allowed the Taliban/Al-Qaeda fighters criss-cross the porous border to launch their terrorist raids and then safely come back to their ‘safe houses’ guarded by the tribal warlords.

This policy of support of the Pakistan Army to the Taliban/Al-Qaeda and their associate fundamentalist and terrorist groups continued to play havoc in large parts of Afghanistan. While US and NATO forces are involved in fighting out these highly motivated medieval morons, countries like India have only been putting up developmental infrastructure like schools, hospitals and roads for better trade links. Instead of giving a supportive hand, the engineers and workers building such infrastructure are being kidnapped and killed by the Taliban, directed by Pakistani Army controllers.

American press confirmed evidence collected by the US agencies of Pak ISI involvement in the suicide attack against Indian embassy in Kabul in July last year. The recent coordinated attacks on government buildings in Kabul resemble Mumbai terrorist attack in November last, launched from Pakistan.

Yes, the common people of Afghanistan deserve a decent and dignified life, free from the Taliban/Al-Qaeda and myriads of their gun-totting terrorist groups wandering the streets implementing their brand of Shariat law. Pakistan and its Security Forces are the main problem and they cannot hide themselves under the cover of being a victim. What you create will ultimately come back and haunt you.

The world community is taking a serious view of the situation. The UN and many leading countries like the US, UK, Canada, Germany, etc. have appointed special envoys to review the situation and suggest measures as the people of all these countries are equally the victims of terrorism which has its origins in Pakistan.

Pakistan and its army have thus been put on notice but they do not seem to be taking note of it as yet.

February 19, 2009   No Comments