Archive for March 16, 2010

Indian presence in Afghanistan is history!

March 16, 2010 Leave a comment

Indian presence in Afghanistan is history!

News reports in the Bharati (aka Indian) seem to confirm inside information that Delhi has completed a very serious evaluation of its foreign policy, after the debacle in Tehran, Istanbul and London. While the US is engaging the entire Pakistani leadership in a colossal meeting to discuss short term and long strategic partnership with Islamabad—the Bharati huddle is producing conflicting stories. One faction in Delhi says “stay the course”. The other faction is saying “reduce the losses, and leave while it can”.

The only difference in opinion between the two approaches is the public and private posturing. Those who wish to proclaim loudly “we will stay” will slowly melt away. Those who wish to leave right away “want to do so with a public announcement“. Already there is a stampede of Bharati consular and other employees making a bee line for the Kabul airport. The exodus of Bharatis from Afghanistan continues unabated while Delhi continues to make public pronouncements that it is “staying the course“.

  • Paring down of the operations of its missions in Afghanistan
  • The operations of the Indian medical mission has already been put on hold
  • Government is also planning to put all the Indians working in projects like power and road together to ensure their safety

The Times of India story clearly describes the withdrawal strategy being discussed. The US has actually asked Bharat to reduce its consular presence in Afghanistan. One does not need a dozen consulates and sub offices to issue a dozen visas to Afghans.

India is looking at various options including paring down of the operations of its missions in Afghanistan in the wake of terror attacks on Indians there.

Government is also planning to put all the Indians working in projects like power and road together to ensure their safety, reliable government sources said on Wednesday.

This follows an assessment made by National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon’s visit to Kabul last week in the wake of terror attack on Feb 26 on guest houses frequented by Indians in which seven Indians were killed.

Apart from the embassy in Kabul, Indian has consulates in Herat, Kandahar, Mazar-e-Sharif and Jalalabad.

The sources said that an advisory may also be issued asking all Indians now now in Afghanistan to return home.

They recalled that the operations of the Indian medical mission has already been put on hold after the Feb 26 attack in which the hand of […]

Taliban  terrorists, […]  had targeted the Indian embassy twice in the past.  On July 7, 2008, 60 people, including four Indians–one IFS official and a brigadier-ranked official were killed in the attack, while on Oct 8 last year, four ITBP jawans were among those injured. Hindustan Times. Press Trust Of India, New Delhi, March 10, 2010

Despite vociferous denials by the Foreign Secretary of Bharat, the fact remains that Bharat is packing its bags in Afghanistan.  Ms. Rao again repeated the line that has been rejected by the US, the UK and about 60 other countries which includes Russia and China and all of Afghanistan’s immediate neighbors. The inevitable has happened. Bharati presence in Afghanistan was on the backs of the Northern Alliance. That Alliance has withered away. Even Mr. Karzai is not in favor of Delhi staying–after Delhi backed Abdullah Abdullah during the election. Mr. Karzai is in the Pakistan camp together with Mr. Ahmedinijad of Iran, and Mr. Tayyip of Turkey. Turkey, Pakistan and Iran have taken charge in Afghanistan with the consensus of the present and future Afghan government.

Mr. Krishna put a brave front in the face of requests from the Embassy staff who want to leave Afghanistan. Delhi’s worst nightmare: A “Taliban” (Pakhtun) government in Kabul

The Hindustan Times a story is self contradictory displaying the panic in Delhi.

  • External Affairs Minister S M Krishna on Saturday said that no employee of the Indian embassy in Kabul has sought to return to India despite growing security concerns in Afghanistan.
  • He, however, added there were some requests for transfer on account of family compulsions that would be considered.
  • “Out of around 40 to 45 employees, not a single one offered to return. They said they would live through it,” he said

Mr. Krishna said that no one has asked to leave. Then in the same breath, he says there have been some requests to leave. Which is it Mr. Krishna?

They have been “dumping” bricks in Delhi–ever since President Obama announced his withdrawal plan from Afghanistan, sugar coated with a temporary surge. The brick analogy is valid in Delhi. The words “Exit Strategy” must have hit the likes of Shashank Joshi and his acolytes like a ton of bricks. 2011 must have sounded like the Mayan calendar’s prophecy of the end of a calendar (era) or the end of time. Hardly had Delhi recovered from the insult of a “naheen-na-no-nyet-nada-non” on operationalization of the 123 Nuclear deal, that Mr. Manmohan Singh had to hear the bad news from Washington. The Bharati media was still incensed about the American refusal to support Bharati quest for a seat on on the UNSC. Now they must prepare for the inevitable–cutting down to size the plans of Delhi to reach Central Asia.

‘A victory for the Taliban in Afghanistan would have catastrophic consequences for the world, particularly for South Asia, for Central Asia, for the Middle East. Religious fundamentalism in the ’80s was used to defeat the Soviet Union. If this same group of people that defeated the Soviet Union now defeats America, this would embolden them in a manner which could have catastrophic consequences for the world at large.Prime Minsiter Singh

Mr. Singh’s warnings were ignored by the world which wants to negotiate with the Taliban and bring peace to the region.

Pakistan will have to tread carefully. An overly aggressive policy in Afghanistan will rankle many of the powers to be. Slowly but surely, the Durand Line has to be erased, and the inevitable union between Afghanistan Pakistan will emerge.

President Zardari recently visited Tajikistan and agreed to build a rail and road network from Dushambe to Gwader. This surely did rankle feathers in Delhi. The Bharati defense establishment is in a tizzy. Unable to come up with a proper reply, they are going through the motions of a diplomatic response. Since Russia brokered the deal between Afghanistan, Pakistan and Tajikistan, Delhi is unable to undo the alliance. Premier Singh could not go to Dushambe so the Delhi bureaucracy did the next best thing, they are sending President Pratibha Patil’s to visit to Tajikistan on September 2. Pakistan cannot remain impervious to the threat of spread of challenges from Afghanistan to neighboring countries. It has been very active indeed

Delhi is fishing on troubled waters seeking alliances with countries way beyond its shores. Foreign interference, regional rivalry, Bharati dreams of hegemony play active parts in Delhi’s designs. For Bharat the violent manifestations of separatism and extremism add to the potential for instability beyond the Amu Darya and the Kabul river– in Central Asia.

India with dreams of super power status is the biggest loser in this peace deal. The dozens “Consulates” (and Centers) should be packing their bags. One cannot imagine any circumstance where the current level of Indian influence has any staying power in Afghanistan. The Indian soldiers ostensibly there to protect their construction workers will have to go back where they came from. The construction work will be slowed down and wound up. The Indian presence follow the same residence that allowed Lord Curzon to pursue a policy of On to the Oxus, but had to retreat after the defeats at Maiwand etc. The Indian delegation had to pack up its bags and leave Kabul after the Soviets left Afghanistan. A similar fate awaits India.

Pakistan ratchets up heat on Indian ‘Water terror’

March 16, 2010 Leave a comment

Pakistan ratchets up heat on Indian ‘Water terror’

The Americans forced Field Marshall Ayub Khan to sign the Indus Water treaty. They had promised the construction of a dozen dams to alleviate the shortage of water (and electricity). Only the Mangla and Tarbeal were built. The other dams got delayed due to a myriad of issues–too lengthy to get into.

In a move that’s angered officials in Bharat (aka India), Islamabad successfully ratcheted up pressure on Delhi. Islamabad’s case on water has gotten it international support and it is now using that momentum to pressure Delhi on  ”water controversy”. Pakistan has formally asked New Delhi to undertake “no construction of power generation works” on its western rivers. Pakistan demands that Delhi  stop the water projects in Indian Occupied Kashmir. The dossier was handed over to the Indians in a pre-planned, well timed interruption during the Foreign Secretary-level talks two weeks ago.

The dossier is based on Islamabad’s well-publicized objections to the Kishenganga hydro-electric project and its earlier effort to scuttle the Baglihar project which the World Bank-appointed neutral observer objected to in 2007. The National Assembly of Pakistan resumed debate on construction of Baghliar and Kishan Ganga Dams and Wuller Barrage by India which were built in violation of Indus Basin Water Treaty.

“The management of water resources can be a catalyst for cross-border cooperation or a trigger for socio-economic instability, especially as relentless demographic and environmental pressures constrain the choices available to future leaders,” Erik Peterson, senior vice president of CSIS, told Circle of Blue. “Instability abroad can and does affect the United States negatively, and as a result there is a compelling case for the implementation of a far-reaching U.S. international water policy in the short term.” – Erik Peterson

Pakistan has not raised the issue at the United Nations but has raised it at the World Bank. This was done in accordance with the dispute-resolution mechanism spelt out in the Indus Waters Treaty. Pakistan’s well documented set of objections have chagrined Delhi because the same issues are also being raised by Bangladesh. Pakistan is now getting half the water it used to receive from the three rivers that were alloted to Islamabad according to the Indus Water basin treaty.

The quest for water has taken on a national significance in light of the Pakistani National Finance Commission Awards (NFC) which recently were agreed to by the provinces in Pakistan. The NFC was agreed to after 13 years, and is a major accomplishment for Pakistan. The issue has become a national campaign championed by the ISI, the Army, government officials and other non government organizations. The Pakistan government was pressured by the civili society and pressure groups.

Among the 25 most populous countries in 2009, South Africa, Egypt and Pakistan are the most water-limited nations. India and China, however, are not far behind with per capita renewable water resources of only 1600 and 2100 cubic meters per person per year. Major European countries have up to twice as much renewable water resources per capita, ranging from 2300 (Germany) to 3000 (France) cubic meters per person per year. The United States of America, on the other hand, has far greater renewable water resources than China, India or major European countries: 9800 cubic meters per person per year. By far the largest renewable water resources are reported from Brazil and the Russian Federation – with 31900 and 42500 cubic meters per person per year. Riaz Haq

Pakistan has demanded the following from the Government of Bharat:

Full and timely communication of design information and data by India to Pakistan on new power-generation plants and irrigation works on western rivers.  India claims that Delhi can build as many as run-of-the river hydro-power projects and needs to provide information six months before work begins. Pakistan disagrees and wants the dams to be stopped.

Bharats (aka India) has been unable to resolve any of her boundary disputes with any of her neighbors. Bharats norhtern border is in a state of constant hot and cold war with China. Her disputes with Bangaldesh pre-date the country. Her issues with Nepal are never ending. The Bharati attempt to bifurcate Sri Lanka were recently defeated when the RAW agent was killed. China, Pakistan and Lanka cooperated to defeat the designs of Delhi.

Bharat also has water disputes with Bangladesh at the Furrakha Barrage which infringes on the rights of the lower reparian (technical term to designate those living on the receiving end of the water).

Bharat after illegally occupying Kashmir using a fake article of accession which it now claims is lost 9as if it ever existed) has now built an illegal dam called Kishanganga dam on the Neelam river which eventually flows down to the Indus in Pakistan.

Delhi  has provided data on the 33 hydro-power projects on western rivers Chenab, Jhelum and Indus (which belong on Pakistan).

Pakistan, with 2,053 cubic meters (m3) per person, ranks eighth in per capita fresh water withdrawals among the 130 countries listed in the 1995 World Development Report. Its water potential is exceeded only by the Central Asian republics of the former Soviet Union. Pakistan depends on irrigation and water resources for 90 percent of its food and crop production (World Bank, 1992). The vast irrigation system in Pakistan is comprised of three major storage reservoirs, 19 barrages or head works, 43 main canals with a conveyance length of 57,000 kilometers, and 89,000 water courses with a running length of more than 1.65 million kilometers. This vast irrigation system feeds more than 40 million acres of irrigated land in Pakistan, a country with the highest irrigated and rain-fed land ratio in the world, 4:1.

Pakistanís impressive irrigation and water resource development has not been without environmental and resource degradation costs in all the ecosystems, i.e., mountains, plains, and the deltaic and coastal areas. According to Arif Hassan, two dams at Tarbella and Chashma reservoirs resulted in the siphoning off of 74 percent of Indus waters before reaching Kotri, the last barrage point on the Indus in the southern Sindh province. The deltaic area was reduced from 3,000 square kilometers (km2) to 250 km2 (Hassan, 1992).

Bharat claims  that it has underutilized its rights — using water to irrigate just about 0.8 million acres as against the permissible limit of about 1.35 million acres. However this is not the true picture. The amount of arable land under cultivation is not an issue. The number of cosecs sent to Pakistan is the issue. Bharat floods Pakistani rivers at will and starves the parched land when it wants to. This is illegal and inhuman.  Pakistan was facing acute shortage of water and according to the United Nations report, per capita water availability had come down from 5,500 cubic metres in 1950 to 1,000 cubic metres at present.



Pakistan has taken some concrete steps to avoid water shortages. These include getting water and electricity from Tajikistan, and using existing resources more efficiently.

97% of water in Pakistan today is used in farming and a lot of it is wasted because of flood irrigation. A lot of farm water can be saved without hurting crop yields by using more efficient water irrigation techniques such as sprinklers or drip systems.A California study recently found that water use efficiency ranged from 60%-85% for surface irrigation to 70%-90% for sprinkler irrigation and 88%-90% for drip irrigation. Potential savings would be even higher if the technology switch were combined with more precise irrigation scheduling and a partial shift from lower-value, water-intensive crops to higher-value, more water-efficient crops.As a first step toward improving efficiency, Pakistan government has launched a 1.3 billion U.S. dollar drip irrigation program that could help reduce water waste over the next five years. Early results are encouraging. Riaz Haq


  • Hassan, Arif, June 30,1992. ìDeath of Indus Delta,î In Down to Earth. Nairobi, Kenya: RIOD.
  • IIMI (International Irrigation Management Institute), October 1995. Inception Report for Farmersí Participatory Irrigation Management Project. Colombo, Sri Lanka: IIMI.
  • IUCN (World Conservation Union), Pakistan. 1991. Korangi ecosystem project. Issue Paper No. 1. Geneva: IUCN.
  • IUCN, 1989. Water: Pakistan Fact Sheet. Geneva: IUCN.
  • Kirmani, S.S., 1992. Working Paper on Policy and Management Issues In Water Sector Investment Plan. Volume 1. Islamabad, Pakistan: Government of Pakistan.
  • Nizamani, Aijaz, December, 1995. ìBlazing a Trail,î In The Way Ahead. Gland, Switzerland: IUCN.
  • Government of Pakistan, 1992. Pakistan National Conservation Strategy, 1992. Islamabad, Pakistan: Government of Pakistan.
  • PAI (Population Action International) Population and Environment Program, 1993. Sustaining the Water. Washington, DC: Population Action International.
  • Postel, Sandra, May/June 1995. ìWhere have all the rivers gone?î World Watch. P. 9. Washington, DC: Worldwatch Institute.
  • The World Bank, 1992. Irrigation Planning with Environmental Consideration. Technical Paper No. 166. Washington, DC: World Bank.
  • The World Bank, 1996. World Development Report. 1995. Washington, DC: World Bank.

Lahore Bombings: Indians Are Suspects, So Are Americans

March 16, 2010 Leave a comment

Lahore Bombings: Indians Are Suspects, So Are Americans

US Ambassador complains to Pakistani Government that media reports have exposed the location of American residences inside Lahore’s military zone, but fails to mention why US personnel with diplomatic cover have been found at wrong places, sometimes carrying weapons that diplomats are not supposed to…

Lahore’s military zone is not only exposed to covert Indian operatives but also to undercover US agents with their suspicious heavy-duty equipment placed in several houses inside a gated community right in the heart of the city’s military area. This has been going on since 2007.

Ahmed Quraishi | Special Report

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan—The eastern city of Lahore is exposed not only to the Indians who have been sending terrorists to plant bombs in public places for the past quarter of a century, but also to the Americans who expanded their covert presence inside Pakistan in the last three years of President Musharraf’s rule.  After the return to democracy in 2008, the US presence [beyond diplomatic requirements or disguised under diplomatic cover] is reported to have increased manifold.

Last year, Pakistanis were stunned to watch several incidents where US citizens were caught by the Military Police at checkpoints leading up to the city’s military zone known as Cantt.  Most of the time, these US individuals refused to say what business took them to the military area. The US Consulate in Lahore is located far away from this zone, which compounded the mystery. These US nationals also refused to allow the police to check their vehicles, which is a standard procedure that all Pakistanis undergo considering the terrorist attacks. On a couple of occasions, US vehicles whose drivers refused to cooperate with MP caused long queues at checkpoints. Military Police officers impounded these vehicles. This led to US officials complaining to their media that Pakistan was ‘harassing’ US diplomats.

But the truth is that the Americans have covertly maintained an outpost of several houses in a gated community right in the heart of the city’s military zone. This zone is so sensitive that a half-constructed Sheraton Hotel lies abandoned on one of Cantt’s main streets because the Pakistani military complained that the new hotel’s upper floors provided an easy view of the residence of the commander of the Pakistan Army Corp that guards Pakistan’s northeastern border with India.

This makes the covert US presence in this area intriguing to say the least. The exact location of these houses, in the elite Sarwar Colony, is shown in the pictures that accompany this report. Most of the residents of this colony are senior retired Pakistani military officers. A handful of them have apparently leased out their homes to the Americans at exorbitant rates that far exceed the normal level of leased property rates in the Colony, according to a fascinating expose published by TheNation and is reproduced below in full.

Why are we talking about a few houses rented out by Americans linked to US government in a sensitive part of the eastern city?

The reason is a wave of terror targeting Lahore over the past two years. This is not to suggest that the US government has something to do with this.  The suspicion centers on local terrorists indirectly or directly aided by intelligence operatives from multiple countries based in Afghanistan.  The point here is that the city of Lahore is exposed not only to local terrorists working with foreign handlers, but also to Indians and possibly to private American security contractors. These contractors expanded their presence in Pakistan in the past two years, mostly using diplomatic cover. The US Embassy in Islamabad under the incumbent Ambassador has been instrumental in pushing for an expanded role for private US defense contractors in Pakistan over the past two years.

Many Pakistanis feel that such penetration of Pakistan by foreign countries is detrimental to our national security and has unnecessarily exposed us to outsiders pursuing interests that may not overlap with our own.

Today, the US Embassy in Islamabad leaked key points of a letter that US Ambassador Anne W. Patterson has sent to Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi. In the letter, Ambassador Patterson complained about TheNation report on the American presence in Cantt, Lahore. More interestingly, she made a veiled threat that Pak-US relations would suffer if those Americans became targets for a terror attack. The letter was leaked to the Dawn newspaper.

The most interesting part of her letter was an acknowledgment on her part that the security of US diplomats in Pakistan is the responsibility of the Government of Pakistan. This is important because it was Ms Patterson who only a year ago was lobbying the Pakistani government to allow US private defense contractors into Pakistan and was running from one government office to another to ensure that these private US contractors are allowed to carry banned weapons anywhere in the country.

When Ms. Patterson was asked why she needed these private security contractors, she said it was to protect US diplomats. Critics said that was the responsibility of the Government of Pakistan and that the Ambassador should not cross a line. Her acknowledgment of this indicates a shift. Probably it has to do with recent understandings between Army Chief Gen. Kayani and US military officials where the army chief reportedly asked US to stop indirect methods of coercion, including media leaks, the role of private contractors in Pakistan and Afghanistan and the role of CIA in the region.

So how did the Pakistani military allow such a breach to occur in a sensitive area of Lahore?

One explanation is that the Americans moved with their gadgetry and equipment to this place sometime in late 2006 and early 2007. This means that the arrangement had the blessings of former President Musharraf.  This is significant because it means the US presence in this sensitive location is part of the sovereign understandings that Pakistan entered with the United States during that time. And no matter how damaging this is for Pakistani security interests, Islamabad and the Pakistani military are forced to put up with this foreign presence for as long as those understandings are effective.

Another explanation is that Mr. Musharraf’s regime allowed the Americans to setup shop here without the full knowledge of all the relevant branches of the Pakistani military and intelligence agencies.  If this is the case, then it is alarming indeed.

This story becomes relevant in the aftermath of a series of attacks in Lahore over the past two years, including one that targeted a visiting Sri Lankan cricket team. The strange part is that all of these attacks either target Pakistan’s allies [Sri Lankans, Chinese] or attack ordinary Pakistanis to kill the largest numbers of them.  Americans or American and British interests have never been attacked in this manner throughout this so-called war on terror that Pakistan has been executing on America’s behalf. If anything, much of this terror is linked to a proxy militia in South Waziristan that claims to be a Pakistani Taliban but receives all its arms and funding from US-controlled Afghanistan where the Indians also maintain a vast intelligence network aimed at Pakistan.

For a list of recorded incidents in Pakistan where private US mercenaries or defense contractors were caught at places where they should not be, see this story, What Robert Gates Didn’t Say – And US Media Hides – About Blackwater In Pakistan.

The question is: What are the Americans doing in Cantt’s Sarwar Colony?

The easiest answer is taking up residence. But there is something more to this than homemaking. The location indicates that the Americans want to keep an eye on movements and chatter in Cantt, which could indicate where Pakistan’s relations with India are headed. Washington is keen to convince Pakistan that India is trustworthy enough for Pakistan to move its army units away from India’s border and get busy in fighting America’s war in Afghanistan.

The Americans could also be interested in keeping an eye on some of the nearby military installations, including one of the largest Pakistan Air Force bases, and also a couple of nuclear installations. There are indications that the US is also interested in seeing the war on terror extended to the heartland of Punjab province in the mistaken belief that this would hurt the base of Pakistani military [Indian intelligence analysts have convinced their American counterparts that Pakistan’s military is all about Punjab province and hitting this province can help subdue Pakistan’s military and ensure its full alignment with US objectives.]

Here is the report published by TheNation on Feb. 21 on the covert US presence in Sarwar Colony in Cantt, Lahore, since 2007 and how scores of Pakistani families have become unwilling neighbors of foreigners they don’t want to see around:

“The mystery of why US personnel were being constantly caught entering into the sensitive area of Lahore Cantonment and thereby getting caught by the Military Police, has finally been resolved. However, in the process some serious questions have arisen.

In 2007, under the Musharraf regime, Americans moved into Sarwar Colony, located behind CSD Cantt just off Aziz Bhatti Shaheed Road. This gated colony contains around 200-250 houses and they are owned by retired or serving generals of Pakistan Army. The Americans have been comfortable ensconced here in a few rented houses since 2007 in what is a highly sensitive location. So question number one: Why were the Americans given permission to locate themselves in this area and who gave the permission?

Their activities really caught on only recently when they acquired Houses 87 and 88 (see pictures), ostensibly for the US embassy staff relocated from Peshawar to Lahore! The rents paid for these houses are also far higher than the average for the Colony which is around Rs 150,000 maximum. The Americans are paying around Rs 320,000 for each house per month.

Towards the end of the last year and the start of this year, the Americans intercepted at the Cantt bridge several times were all those coming to this location. However, these Americans refused to tell Military Police officials what their destination was inside Lahore Cantt. So question number two is: Why, if the Americans had rented these houses genuinely for residential accommodation? Linked to this is question three: How come the Military Police were not in on this vital piece of information? Why were they being kept in the dark?

When these houses were rented, in the first three months high security measures were taken for them -grilling, the glass was all changed probably to bullet proof, and infrared security devices were installed with a lighting system. Then, four months ago, big container trailers entered the colony (which is restricted) about seven or eight in number, and they were off loaded into the houses in the predawn hours. After the offloading, the security of the premises was given to Elite Force Punjab and Wackenhut private security guards. The covert usage of these buildings became apparent because anyone seen coming too close to the properties was mistreated and threatened.

Children playing in the park right in front of these two houses often threw balls inside the porches of these two houses. Usually Americans come out swearing. Once, children reported that a growling and angry American came out and flattened the ball before returning it to them.

Some of the Pakistani guards outside the two houses told residents in the neighbourhood that the Americans were transporting and installing hi-tech equipment in the houses. At least one resident in the neighbourhood reports that some of the guards took photographs of some of this equipment and showed them to the residents. One of the residents who saw the pictures reports that a US citizen was watching the guard from inside the house and came out, snatched the mobile phone and threatened the resident not to contact the guards again or come near the house.

But the real issue and core question is: Why the Americans are being allowed to use houses in this sensitive area of Lahore cantonment when there now exists a decision of the Government that foreigners cannot even enter the cantonment areas without prior permission?

To find out how the local residents are taking to their American neighbours, TheNation sent its reporter to the Colony and discovered a terrorised Pakistani community right in the heart of their own country. His account speaks for itself since of some unidentified private American security guards equipped with M4s. The offloaded stuff was professionally packed in layers of plastic and wood.”

Ahmed Quraishi